Preventing a flat head

Essential information to rememberYour baby needs to spend some time on his tummy every day.

Photo: Nadeige Charles

Sudden infant death syndrome happens 50% to 70% less often since paediatricians have recommended that infants sleep only on their backs. But if a baby always stays in the same position, in her crib or car seat, she may end up having a flat head. The medical term for this is positional plagiocephaly.

Since the bones of the baby’s skull are still soft, the part of the head lying on the mattress flattens with pressure. A slight flattening of the head will disappear on its own. A more pronounced flatness may be permanent but will not harm your baby’s brain or development.

Recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society

To prevent a flat head, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends changing your baby’s position in the crib every day.

  • One day, place your baby with her head at the head of her crib.
  • The next day, place her head at the foot of the crib.

Make sure she is always looking towards the room, not towards the wall. You can also put a mobile on the side of the crib facing the door to encourage your baby to look in that direction.

Your baby needs to be placed on her tummy for short periods of time every day when she’s awake and is with a parent. This will help her grow and prevent flat spots from forming on the back of her skull.

Sudden infant death syndrome: The unexplainable sudden death of an apparently healthy newborn under the age of one.