Plagiocephaly/Flat head

What is Plagiocephaly/Flat head?

This describes a flat spot or misshapen head in infants. It can be common in 10-20% of babies and this can be easily preventable/fixed. 

Children are at greatest risk of plagiocephaly if they are born prematurely because they have softer skulls or if they are low tone/ weak or have been medically unwell and spent long periods of time lying on their back. We will go over a few simple things you can do to help.

What causes Plagiocephaly:

A flat spot is often caused by long amounts of time with a baby’s head in the same position. A baby’s skull is still soft and moldable and can be susceptible to outside pressures. Some children can have tightness in their neck muscles (known as torticollis) a result of an unusual position in the womb can leave a baby with restricted neck movement. 

Babies can often begin to develop a head preference because they are weak when they are born and their head falls to one side and they look towards a light or noise. Constant pressure to this side develops a head preference. 

There is a difference between a head preference and torticollis.  Torticollis is when there is neck stiffness and they are unable to turn one direction, whereas a head preference is when your child is able to turn their head to both sides but they just prefer looking one direction. Torticollis can be trickier to manage, so if you feel your child’s neck feels stiff and you can’t get them to turn all the way to one side it is best to get some advice early on. If there is no stiffness, feel free to encourage your child to turn to their head to both sides.

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