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Flat Heads From Babies Sleeping on Backs

Nearly Half of Babies Have Flat Spots on Their Heads

Parents are often told to put newborn babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). While that practice has helped to reduce SIDS by more than half since the mid-1990s, it has also led to more babies with flat heads, the Huffington Post reports.

According to a study published in Pediatrics, more than 36 percent of 2- to 3-month-old babies have some form of positional plagiocephaly.

To find out how that condition affects your baby's development, read the whole story at the Huffington Post.

Join The Conversation
ViolaWoolcott ViolaWoolcott 4 years
What happened to my comment?
krystalGiese1373719852 krystalGiese1373719852 4 years
Flat heads are related to genes. Some kids are just born with softer skulls and others have harder skulls. My doctor told me this when my son had a flat spot on his head even though he was held up a lot and slept on his tummy. Some kids can be on their back all the time and never get flat spots.
JamieHeald1363742235 JamieHeald1363742235 4 years
I tended to lean towards the old fashioned way of doing some things and my child was just fine. In his bassinette I tried putting him on his back, but it just wasn't for him, so I tried him on his sides and he seemed a little more comfortable. We actually also used a rocking chair that had vibration you can turn on/off that sat him up a little (which doubles now as a toddler seat, you just remove the play arch and can tuck the safety latch into the back, good investment, had since day one!). I really think you just need to see what suits your child. If something scares you to try, try it when you're not trying to sleep so you can observe your child, then "you'll" sleep ALOT better! He never had any flat spot or that also common balding on the back side of his head. He TOO was also held a lot and not just put in the crib/ car seat. THIS is very important; isn't that what "nurturing" is all about!!? I'm not obviously aware of the medical reasons for these things to happen but the basics I'm quite in tune with. Modern methods, I agree are just, well for starters, THERE ARE TOO MANY OF THEM!! "Nuf said"!
juliadoherty juliadoherty 4 years
Back sleeping+Ferber (cry it out) parenting= flat headed babies. There is nothing natural about today's parenting methods.
SamanthaUeno SamanthaUeno 4 years
yeah, my daughter slept on her back...but she was also worn a lot in a wrap or carrier. so no flat head here.
mamasun75 mamasun75 4 years
P.S. to my comment below, I also held my child plenty, and did not leave him in the carseat or crib all the time.
mamasun75 mamasun75 4 years
This article frustrates me to no end because it makes light of flat spots, making it seem like just a cosmetic issue. While flat spots in the direct center of the back of the head might not be an indication of any health issue, people should be aware that asymmetrical flat spots (e.g. on one side of the head) should be examined by a doctor as soon as possible so that it can be corrected. My now 5-year old son was first observed to have flattening on one side of the head when he was 2 months old. Turns out he had torticollis, which is a fairly common condition where the muscles on one side of his neck were tighter than the other (caused by being cramped in a certain position in the womb). The torticollis caused him to favor tilting his head in one direction when he slept, which lead to the flat spot. He had physical therapy for the torticollis, but when that didn't resolve the problem quickly enough, he was prescribed a helmet. Thank goodness we caught it in time and he started his helmet therapy early enough at 7 months. Plagiocephaly can cause facial asymmetry, along with the misshapen head, which does NOT resolve itself once the skull bones fused at around 18-24 months. I've seen this happen to my friend's kids and it's noticeable.
leahsmith82569 leahsmith82569 4 years
yes sleep on their backs, but during the rest of the time have them on their tummies for tummy time and being held not just sat in things to hold them. Or not being in the carseat all the time. I have seen this so much, the baby gets put into the carseat for the trip then when they get to the destanation they are kept in the carseat and carried in it for the whole time. They are given bottles in the carseats while the parents are shopping. We have become a very hands off parenting world today. we have all these other things to put our babies in to keep them busy and entertained. I really believe that it has way more to do with the fact that the babies are in the carseats for so many hours or on their backs all day looking up at things and not so much tummy time and other activaties. the flat heads arent harmful and they reshape when given the chance.
KyleWhite KyleWhite 4 years
Studies have shown that is not necessarily back sleeping that increases the risk of SIDS. The so-called "back to sleep" campaign also included the rules not to put pillows, fluffy blankets, and bumpers in the crib with baby. It was eliminating these things that really produced the results, not so much just the back sleeping. All three of my children were tummy sleepers in safe cribs with safe crib mattresses and all three were just fine (with beautiful heads too!) And how can they say that flat headedness does not affect the baby? My pediatrician told me that all the milestones have been pushed back by at least three months (baby should crawl by nine months instead of by six months) because back sleeping delays motor development. That sounds like a pretty big effect to me!
cat6meow cat6meow 4 years
I glad I put my kids on their stomachs...A LOT in fear of the flat head. My mother-in-law always told me to rub the babies heads in a circular motion...didn't know what that would do but I did it. I'm glad I listened to the old wise tales because none of my kids have a flat head in the back.
tabetha86465 tabetha86465 4 years
All three of my kids have flat head an they weren't always on car seats or laying in bed all day I picked them up alot it just seems to happing an when they would sleep I would routie them to a slight angle on there side with a thin blanket folded behind them an switch from side to side to back an it didnt make a differnce they still ended up with flat heads an ask for it effecting them I don't think it does in my opinion all my baby's started walking at six months an talking an learning fast an my 6 year old is the smartest in her class an honsetly like the whole keep them laying on there backs isn't always safe I think it's good to routie them on there sides to because both of my youngest had a lactose problem which the hospital didnt listen to me when I told them to switch formulas but anyway my daughter was laying on her back lik they tell u to do an if I wasn't in the room with her she would've drowned on her own puke an died so with that being side just put them on there sides on a angle with one of the receiving blankets behind them belive me it's safer if they spit up or anything it will come out not drown them u can put them on there backs just try to switch them every hour or so
CoMMember13631070992084 CoMMember13631070992084 4 years
It seems as your baby should be held more. Everyone is afraid of holding a baby too much and this is what happens. SO hold your baby geezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
CoMMember13631070992084 CoMMember13631070992084 4 years
A flat spot on babies head is usually temporary and once they are able to sit up or hold their head up and roll around it most always resolves itself.Yes, pick up and hold your baby he shouldn't be laying around all day in a car seat or crib when he is awake. It is rarely every a permanent "disfigurement".
DebbieKasler DebbieKasler 4 years
If your Dr. suggests a helmet to correct his/her head shape then do it for heavens sake! Why wouldn't you want to correct it?
fritzsa fritzsa 4 years
My child has a flat spot on his head..and I did pick him up. In fact, he spent A LOT of time in my arms. The only time he was in his car seat was when we left with him. It was nothing that we did as parents so please don't pass judgement. He only slept on his back or in our arms. The doctors wanted to put him in a helmet, but I just didn't think it was necessary.
Allison14691390 Allison14691390 4 years
Flat heads or plagiocephaly are caused more by excessive carseat use than by children sleeping. Pick up your kids...don't cart them around in carseats. Use a soft carrier...let them see the world from your perspective...and keep their heads beautiful too.
CoMMember13627405542584 CoMMember13627405542584 4 years
I'll take a flat spot on the head over losing my child to SIDS.
ErinOliva ErinOliva 4 years
Actually there is a simple and logical way to deal with this...Side/Back/Side alternating..I did this with both of my boys and both boys never really developed a flatness. BUT if you are not comfortable with that I agree with what others have said a sightly flat head over risk of death any day!!!
StephanySiebel StephanySiebel 4 years
What has the World come to? Wait let me chose...having my child suffocate or giving him a flat spot on his head....oh yes i'd rather have him have a bit of a flat spot.
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