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Flat Head Syndrome

Um, what?

Flat Head Syndrome?  What is it and who gets it?

Who Gets It: Babies.

What Is It: Positional plagiocephaly (pronounced play-gee-oh-sef-a-lee), flat head syndrome, happens when a baby’s head develops a flat spot from continued pressure on a particular area, like from sleeping on their backs.

Show of hands…how many grandparents knew about this?

~hands in pockets~

I had no idea!  But, slowly it made sense to me.

When Boy was an itty-bitty it was a rare occasion to see a baby in a helmet.  It usually signaled some sort of injury or surgery. Yet, today it’s not so uncommon.  What has happened in the last 20-30 years to increase this syndrome and are the helmets really necessary?

The implementation of the Back-to-Sleep campaign in 1994, by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is what happened.

Trying to reduce the rate of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), the AAP started advising parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs instead of on their bellies, like my generation was advised.  If I’m not mistaken, we were advised to use the belly position so our babies wouldn’t choke to death if they happened to throw-up in the middle of the night.


The AAP was happy to report (and I was happy to read) that SIDS had declined by more than 50 percent after implementing this solution.

Enter flat head syndrome and the helmets I’ve been seeing.

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Are Helmets Really Necessary?

As long as the syndrome is caught fairly early, and pediatricians are checking for it during well-baby check-ups, there are a few simple things that can easily coax a baby’s head back into its normal shape, diminishing the need for a helmet.

* Tummy Time is the biggest tool that many parents use.  Simply put: baby gets to lay on their belly, supervised of course. It is now the recommendation that babies spend one-half of their awake time on dat fat baby belly!

* Avoid extended time in car seats, rocking sleepers, or rigid baby carriers.

* Use of specialty pillows or head cradles. Here are two examples of a head-shaping, or head-support items.

#1: Boppy Noggin Head Rest

Flat Head Syndrome

(photo credit: Amazon)


or #2: Tortle Beanie


Flat Head Syndrome

(photo credit: Amazon)

So stylish!

As a grandmother, I’m continuing my baby education every day, and as I learn, I’m passing it along to you.  Some of us are care-givers to these itty-bitties, so we have to be armed with the most up-to-date info.  As a bonus, for those of you about to be grandparents for the first time, you’re now hip to the concern of flat head syndrome and can pass this info along.

Or, just give one of these products to Momma-to-be at her baby shower (if the NoseFrida still gives you the shivers).  She will thank you for it later.

Onward, grandparents!




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Monday 27th of May 2013

This is so true. My cousin has it and she is now 49 years old. I asked my Mom when I was little why she had a flat head and she told me it was because my Aunt never turned her over when she was sleeping.

Mrs. Tucker

Monday 27th of May 2013

I had never heard of this until recently. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Carrie from Carrie This Home

Sunday 19th of May 2013

As a parent of a child that had a mild case of this, I'll vouch for you--your tips and advice are right on! I think it's great you're sharing this info! My daughter almost had to use a helmet but more tummy time and having her sleep on the opposite side solved the problem.

Mrs. Tucker

Sunday 19th of May 2013

So glad that it turned out OK for you guys. And thanks for the vouch!


Friday 17th of May 2013

When my girls were small we were suppose to put them on their tummies to sleep. No bald spots. No flat heads.

Now? The bald spot on the back of my granddaughters head is a sure sign that she spends most of her time on her back. I better visit more so I can hold her when she sleeps and let that hair grow back in and keep her head in a lovely shape. LOL

Mrs. Tucker

Friday 17th of May 2013

Sounds like you have formulated a BRILLIANT plan!


Thursday 16th of May 2013

I heard a lot about this 2 years ago when my son was an basically boiled down to not leaving your child on his or her back for the entire day. Thanks for sharing this at Domestic Superhero today!

Mrs. Tucker

Thursday 16th of May 2013

It's so true. Gotta flip dem babies!


Wednesday 15th of May 2013

My mom was so worried that my little bear's head was going to need a helmet. She was obsessed, it was kind of funny. I had to ask our dr at every well baby about it, just so I could then tell her again that the dr said not to worry. She was one grandma who was all over this issue!

It is amazing how much things change from generation to generation. I wonder what it will be like when I am the grandma! =)

Thank you for spreading JOY and sharing at the Oh What a HAPPY Day party.

Holly at Not Done Growing

Mrs. Tucker

Wednesday 15th of May 2013

It really is amazing what changes from generation to generation. I love that your mom was on it!