Plagiocephaly in Babies (Flat Head Syndrome)

Having Plagiocephaly in babies isn’t just a problem to worry about, it’s a medical condition that can be treated and prevented. In this article, you’ll learn about the symptoms of this condition, its diagnosis, and how to treat it.


Symptoms of plagiocephaly in babies include flat spots on the back of the head, and the front of the eyes may bulge outward. The problem occurs when the skull is misshaped during pregnancy or birth, or when the bones are too soft. Fortunately, there are treatments for the condition.

Most cases of mild plagiocephaly will improve with time. If the condition is severe, surgery will be needed. These treatments usually involve special exercises, varying sleeping positions, and wearing corrective helmets. The duration of treatment will depend on the severity of the condition.

Some infants are at greater risk of positional plagiocephaly. These babies are typically premature and spend more time on their backs. This extra pressure causes the skull to become flattered.

Other symptoms of plagiocephaly in babies include uneven facial features. The muscles on one side of the neck are smaller than the other, and the jaw may be more forward on the flattened side. A corresponding lack of hair in the area may also indicate the condition.

The most effective way to treat flat head syndrome is by ensuring that the baby gets tummy time every day. Tummy time helps the child develop the muscles in his neck and shoulders. It’s recommended that tummy time lasts for 30 minutes or more each day.

Parents should also alternate the positions that their baby sleeps in to minimize the risk of having the same spot on his or her head. Tummy time can be done by holding the baby on his or her back for a few minutes, then placing the child on his or her tummy.

Some infants also develop torticollis, a condition that causes the neck to twist to one side. The tightness of the muscles in the neck can prevent the baby from turning his or her head fully. Symptoms of plagiocephaly may also be apparent in babies with torticollis. These infants will often have trouble turning their heads and will need to undergo physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in the neck.

If the flat spots in your baby’s head do not go away, you might consider a visit to a pediatric craniofacial surgeon. This doctor will likely recommend a helmet that is specially designed to reshape the skull.


Several types of plagiocephaly can affect the shape of a baby’s head. The most common type is positional plagiocephaly, which is shaped by the way the baby’s head is positioned during pregnancy or before birth. Other types are deformational and synostotic plagiocephaly.

In the newborn stage, the bones of the skull are soft and flexible. This causes them to reshape as the baby grows. However, the condition is very rare and is usually not associated with learning delays or adverse health effects.

A doctor or a physical therapist can diagnose flat head syndrome by looking at the shape of the baby’s head. During the first six weeks of life, the head’s shape generally corrects itself. When a child’s skull is misshapen, it can cause facial irregularities and feeding problems. If your baby is suffering from this condition, it is important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. Taking action early will help prevent the condition from worsening.

The main symptoms of plagiocephaly are a flat spot on the side of the head or a bald spot. Your child’s ears may also appear flat or not even. The jaw may be more forward on the flattened side.

In addition to plagiocephaly, your child may also have torticollis, which is a condition that occurs when your baby’s neck muscles are tight. This can make it difficult for your child to turn his or her head in a particular direction. The tight neck muscles can also slow down your baby’s development. Depending on the severity of the condition, your child might need to wear a helmet. This special helmet is designed to take pressure off the flat area and encourage your baby’s head to grow where it is flat.

The most effective way to treat flat head syndrome is through tummy time. This involves holding your baby on the floor for five or more minutes at a time. The purpose of tummy time is to develop your baby’s neck, shoulder, and shoulder muscles. It also gives your baby a break from the pressure that he or she experiences when laying down.


Unlike most childhood conditions, plagiocephaly is treatable. It develops when the baby’s skull flattens in one place. The flattening usually occurs during the first six weeks of life. It may also occur during pregnancy. In some cases, the flattening may not be noticeable to parents until a few months later.

Typical symptoms of plagiocephaly are a flat area on the back of the head or a bald spot on the side of the head. In other cases, the ears may not be even, and the jaw may be flattened. Regardless of the cause of the condition, treatment is generally aimed at restoring a normal head shape.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports a growing incidence of positional plagiocephaly in babies. These are often related to sleeping on the back, but they can also be caused by other factors. The condition is most common in premature babies. It can also affect twins born at the same time.

There are no specific tests for this condition. However, parents should consult their GP for further testing if they suspect that their child has this condition.

There are several treatments for plagiocephaly, which will depend on the severity of the condition. Some of these methods include:

If the flat area does not improve on its own, it may be a sign of another condition, such as craniosynostosis. This is a rare genetic disorder that causes premature skull plates to fuse together. This may need surgery to correct.

If your baby has a flat spot, you should start treating it as soon as possible. You can begin by changing your baby’s position. You should also take photos of the area and contact your doctor if the problem worsens.

You should ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist. A physical therapist can help you treat plagiocephaly through hands-on care and prescribed movement. This can prevent muscle tightness and related problems.

In addition to these treatment methods, you should provide your baby with tummy time. This can help strengthen your baby’s back, neck, and shoulder muscles. It can also reduce the risk of plagiocephaly.


Fortunately, there are ways to prevent plagiocephaly in babies. The key is allowing plenty of tummy time. This will strengthen the neck muscles and reduce the pressure on the head. It also helps to avoid sleeping on one side of the body.

In addition, doctors recommend that parents carry their baby in a way that avoids the use of car seats and swings. In addition, they recommend parents limit the amount of time their baby spends in the womb, especially in the first few weeks.

During pregnancy, a baby’s skull will continue to grow. The bones in the skull are malleable, so their shape will change naturally. If the bones are not able to move in the proper direction, then the skull may flatten.

A doctor can diagnose flat head syndrome by looking at the shape of the baby’s head. If the condition is mild, it can heal itself as the baby grows. However, if it is moderate or severe, then a cranial orthotic helmet will be necessary. The helmet will take the pressure off the flat spot, so the head will be able to grow.

If the helmet does not work, then the doctor will discuss surgery. A surgeon may use a special procedure to reshape the skull to match the rest of the head. This procedure will be discussed with the patient’s family and caregivers. The duration of the treatment will depend on the severity of the condition.

To prevent flat head syndrome in babies, doctors will recommend a custom-made cranial molding helmet. The helmet is worn over the baby’s head and will allow it to move in the right direction. The helmet’s hard shell will protect the child from injury and help to direct the remaining head growth.

In addition, the helmet will help the child’s head to grow more evenly, which will decrease the likelihood of developing positional plagiocephaly. This type of plagiocephaly can cause misaligned ears, eyes, and other body parts.

It is best to have the helmet prescribed by a healthcare professional with experience in craniofacial issues. This person can advise you on the best way to carry your baby, including the number of times a day to alternate your baby’s head position.

Health Sources:

Health A to Z. (n.d.).

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.).

Directory Health Topics. (n.d.).

Health A-Z. (2022, April 26). Verywell Health.

Harvard Health. (2015, November 17). Health A to Z.

Health Conditions A-Z Sitemap. (n.d.).

Susan Silverman

Susan Silverman

Susan Silverman is a Healthy Home Remedies Writer for Home Remedy Lifestyle! With over 10 years of experience, I've helped countless people find natural solutions to their health problems. At Home Remedy Lifestyle, we believe that knowledge is power. I am dedicated to providing our readers with trustworthy, evidence-based information about home remedies and natural medical treatments. I love finding creative ways to live a healthy and holistic lifestyle on a budget! It is my hope to empower our readers to take control of their health!

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