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Plagiocephaly and Torticollis

02/03/2021 Posted in Infants

What is “Flat Head Syndrome” (positional plagiocephaly)?

Positional plagiocephaly usually occurs when an infant sleeps with the head turned consistently to the same direction during the first few months of life. This flat spot can be located on either side of the head or the back of the head.

In their early months, infants spend a great deal of time on their backs during awake and sleeping time whether it is on the floor or in devices such as car seats, strollers, swings, carriers or bouncy seats. It is important we are aware of their positions and that we try to change the head position often.

Plagiocephaly is often linked to a condition called torticollis which involves tight muscles in the neck and causes the baby to have a preference to turn one direction over another. It is very important to identify torticollis early and be assessed and followed by a physiotherapist.


Why do some babies develop a flat spot?

The skull bones of infants are very soft and babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs in the crib, car seat, bouncy chair and swings. Babies with torticollis might have the flat spot from birth, although the flatness is sometimes not noticed by parents or physicians until the baby is several months old.


Please see the video link for parent resource on positioning ideas put together by Alberta Children’s Hospital.

AHC Infant Head Shape Video Thumbnail

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