What is Flat Head Syndrome, What causes it, and how to recognize Flat Head Syndrome

Welcome to the Crescent Womb blog. Today we are discussing a hot topic for parents of newborns. Mainly, what is Flat Head Syndrome, common causes, and how to recognize what Flat Head Syndrome looks like in your infant.

What is Flat Head Syndrome ?

Technically known as Deformational Plagiocephaly, Flathead Syndrome is where the baby's head has an irregular shape caused by external forces. Perhaps the most common risk factor or “external force” is sleep position. As the baby's head flattens, it will naturally rest on that flat area, exacerbating the problem.

1 in 2 infants are diagnosed with deformational plagiocephaly (aka Flathead Syndrome) every year in the US.

What Causes Flat Head Syndrome ?

The most common cause of a flattened head is a baby's sleep position. Infants are on their backs for many hours every day, so the head sometimes flattens in one spot. This happens not only while they sleep, but also from being in infant car seats, carriers, strollers, swings, and bouncy seats.

Newborn, premature infants are more likely to be affected by flat head syndrome. Their newborn skulls are softer compared to those of full-term babies. These infants spend a lot of time on their backs without being moved or picked up because of medical observation, often staying in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) until they’re healthy enough to go home.

Flat head syndrome can even start before birth if there's pressure on the baby's skull from the mother's pelvis or a twin. Many babies from multiple births are born with some flat spots on their head.

Flat head syndrome can often lead to tight neck muscles that make it hard for your baby to turn their head. This neck condition is called torticollis. At this point it's hard for infants to move, so they tend to keep their heads in the same place when lying on their back. This leads to increased flat head syndrome. Once the head has a flat spot, the torticollis can worsen. Babies use a lot of energy to turn their heads. Infants with severe Flat head Syndrome on one side tend to stay on that side. This increasing flattening and their necks can become uncomfortable from lack of movement. 

What does Flat Head Syndrome look like ?

Flat head syndrome is typically easy for parents and caregivers to recognize. Some common visual symptoms include:

  • The back of the baby’s head is flat or flatter on one side
  • The baby usually has less hair with flat head syndrome
  • When looking down at the baby’s head, the ear on the flattened side can appear pushed forward

In some severe cases, the forehead might bulge on the side opposite from the flattening, and may look uneven. If the infant is suffering from torticollis, the neck, jaw, and face will also appear uneven.

For more info on what is Flat head Syndrome and how to prevent Flat head Syndrome head to www.crescentwomb.com.

Stay well :) 

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