Baby Flat Head Syndrome (Plagiocephaly / Brachycephaly)
What is Flat Head Syndrome?
Baby flat head syndrome (Plagiocephaly / Brachycephaly) is a condition that makes the back or side of a babys head look flattened. This can cause a misalignment of the ears and eyes as well as a distorted look to the skull. Although it is not known to cause medical problems later in life, flat head syndrome can have an impact on jaw and dental development early in life and may cause a child to be self-conscious during their early years of development.
Flat head syndrome can occur in different forms:
Plagiocephaly: a partial flattening on one side of the head.
Brachycephaly: a flattening of the back of the head resulting in a wide appearance.
What is it caused by?
Flat head syndrome is caused by external pressure on the babys skull. There are a number of contributing factors including:
- Constant positioning: Young babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs. This causes constant external pressure on the back of the skull.
- Birth: Babies are often born with slightly misshapen heads during birth due to the pressure from the birthing canal.
- Torticollis (Wryneck): Sometimes the muscles on one side of a babys neck can become tight or shortened causing babies to favour looking in one direction. This means they will also tend to sleep with their head in one position which can lead to plagiocephaly.
- Infant seats: Infant car seats and carriers may cause regular external pressure on the back of the skull.
Craniosynostosis is a more serious condition that may also cause a misshapen head. This condition is caused by premature closing of a babys skull sutures (internal rather than external factors). The rest of the skull can continue to grow while the affected area is prevented from growing. Surgery is the only way to correct Craniosynostosis.
Who is at risk?
Babies are most vulnerable to flat head syndrome (Plagiocephaly / Brachycephaly) in their first three months. During this time their skull bones are soft and can flatten if put under constant pressure.
Premature babies are particularly prone to this condition because their skulls are softer than full-term babies.
How is it treated?
For information about flat head syndrome (Plagiocephaly / Brachycephaly) treatment and prevention visit our Treatments page.
The Mimos Baby Pillow can be of great help in the prevention and correction of plagiocephaly/Brachycephaly. It has a wide range of benefits and is becoming increasingly recommended by Paediatricians and Craniofacial Experts. For more information about the benefits click here.