The presence of a flat spot on the sides or back of a baby’s head is what is referred to as flat head syndrome, and the flat head syndrome can cause the head of a baby to have an asymmetrical shape, making it look like a parallelogram. This condition can also be called plagiocephaly.
Is it the fault of the parents that kids have a flat head syndrome? Is flat head syndrome a sign of neglect? These are questions that tend to come up from time to time when looking at the possible cause of flat head, but the answer is No, flat head syndrome is not a sign of parent’s neglect.
Is Flat Head Syndrome A Sign Of Neglect?
A very common fact about babies is they are born with a malleable head type, and having a malleable head makes it possible for the brain to grow. This is why their head has a soft texture so it can be molded with ease. Flat head is mostly caused by the sleeping position of newborn babies.
Parents have been encouraged to sleep on their backs instead of their tummy to avoid the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, but sleeping on the back is not the only possible cause of flat head in babies. Neck imbalance in babies can also cause flat heads, and being born prematurely is also another cause.
Now, you can tell that none of these factors are caused by the parents. So flat head is not considered a neglect on the parents side.
What Is Plagiocephaly In Infants?
This is a term used in describing the flat spot that forms on the back and sides of a newborn babies head. The skull of a newborn baby doesn’t get fully formed till some months after birth, and the presence of soft bones in the skull makes passing through the birth canal very easy.
The presence of soft bones also means the baby’s head can take different shapes, and sleeping in the same sleeping position can cause flat head in babies. There are two types of plagiocephaly which are congenital and positional plagiocephaly.
The most common type of plagiocephaly is the positional plagiocephaly, and this can also be called deformational plagiocephaly. This is because it is known to affect about fifty percent of babies in the United States, while that of congenital plagiocephaly is known to occur rarely.
Another common fact about plagiocephaly is it might take several months for its signs to start appearing, Parents are advised to always check the shape of their baby’s head when bathing them, as the signs can be visible more when the head is wet.
Here are some simple signs to look out for when checking for signs of flat head in babies;
- Presence of bony ridges on the skull of babies
- One area of the head has a bald skull
- The ears of the baby are not even
- The head lacks a soft spot
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What Does A Flat Head Indicate?
Flat head is just an awkward shape the head takes due to constantly sleeping in the same position in babies. Parents should know that this isn’t something to lose sleep over as it will not have any negative effect on a baby’s brain development.
Over time, a flat head condition will improve on its own, and babies will not experience any form of pain when they develop a flat head. In most cases, it doesn’t slow down a baby’s development. However, repositioning therapy is one of the ways you can correct flat head in babies.
This is a welcomed idea that needs to be done when the baby’s bones are still soft, and can be easily re-positioned.
What Is The Major Cause Of Head Flattening?
A baby’s sleeping position remains the most significant cause of head flattening, and the head will go flat on the back or sides if a baby spends too much time sleeping on his back. Surprisingly, this doesn’t happen only when they sleep.
It could also happen from spending too much time on bouncy seats, swings, strollers, carriers, and infant car seats. Flat head in babies is not something a parent should be to worried about as it will resolve on its own over time.
The flat head can happen since the bones in the skull of a baby are still soft, making it easy for the head to take a flat shape.
When Is It Too Late To Correct A Flat Head?
Even though we have said flat head is not something to worry about as it resolves on its own, this doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t take available steps in dealing with the situation at hand. Like you read earlier, flat head happens as a result of a change in the shape of the soft bones in the skull.
This tells you that the shape of the head can still be adjusted even when it gets flat. Bearing this fact in mind, it is very important that parents take steps in correcting the flat head that has formed in their babies before they hit twelve months of age.
This is because at twelve months and above, the bones in the skull of your baby starts to get hard. Once you notice flat head in babies, it is best that you consult with a medical expert when your baby is between four months to twelve months so the best possible treatment can be discussed.
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Does Flat Head Affect Brain Development?
No, your baby’s brain development will not be affected simply because the shape of the head has gone awkwardly flat. Your baby will still experience the same brain growth just like other babies despite having a flat head.
However, the presence of a stiff neck can cause a little delay in your baby’s development. This condition is called torticollis, and physical therapy for torticollis is usually recommended to help in dealing with the condition.
Other things that might be recommended in treating torticollis in babies include exercises that will help in treating any form of delay. Flat head will not slow down or cause your baby’s brain to not develop, but it is merely a shape issue that is caused by constantly sleeping in the same position.
I am a proud mother of two, a lover and home builder. My love for children gave birth to the bestofmotherearth.com with the aim to cover topics from child health, pregnancy, parenting, family, relationship, struggles in families and also food.