Plagiocephaly, Flat Head in Babies

Flat Head in Babies

New born infants have very soft skull. The softness is easily prone to get de-shaped from its circular form. If you consider the skull of the newly born baby, it is conical in shape. As days pass, the cone shaped head begins to get a little round. Likewise, baby’s skull with pressure changes from its original shape.

How do babies develop flat head?

Some babies develop flatness at one side of the head. And the other side is developing fine. Tummy-up time is when their skull gets flattened. When they are comfortable with one position, they tend to follow the same side. This applies pressure on the bone and easily gets flattened.



The asymmetrical shape at the side’s of the baby’s head, this condition is called Plagiocephaly.

How serious is flat head in babies?

Head flattening usually has no impact on the development of the brain.

But the facial structure also gets affected if the baby grows up with the flat head. The entire face looks slanted and the natural beauty of the face gets adversely affected.

How do I recognize flat head in my baby?

The occurrence of flat head is mainly during the initial months after the birth. Watch the back of your baby’s head from top. This should reveal the symmetry. Slight asymmetry is not to be worried about. If there is a much visible asymmetry then you much act fast.

Many parents identify this when the asymmetry is much beyond the control. That too at the age of 1.5 or 2 years. At this age the skull would have hardened and it is highly difficult to bring the circular shape back.

What should I do to resolve flat head in my baby?

  • Always reposition you baby while he is sleeping. The baby always tends to turn towards the comfortable position which usually one single side.
  • You can distract the baby to turn the head towards other side by keeping interesting hanging things. This will keep the baby busy staring at the attractive toys.
  • Make your baby’s comfortable one side to face the wall. This will automatically make the baby to turn the head towards other side to look for interesting things away from the wall.
  • Put soft baby pillows or beds in the baby crib. Hard bedding will apply pressure on baby’s head.
  • Massage the head everyday while bath  into roundness with oil. Do not over do. Do not apply too much of pressure on baby’s head.

Care has to be taken about the flat head until the baby learns to roll over and begins to spend time on his/her tummy.


Indian traditions in preventing flat head in babies:-


Flat head is common in western countries. Not that it cannot be found in India. Of course there are cases here too. But the age old traditions have helped parents to prevent flat head in their babies.

  • It is a common practice even today to use a soft horse shoe shaped pillow for baby.
  • Also in some rural areas, a thin circular tyre like structure is prepared at home using a cotton cloth. The tyre hole is made in the size of the baby head. The baby’s head is placed in this tiny cotton made tyre while sleeping. This ensures that the bed does not apply any pressure on the head.
  • And the house hold cloth cradle. This ensures the circular shape of the baby’s head.


Plagiocephaly Helmet:

These days many companies have come up with a head band for babies who have major flat head problem. It is a helmet like structure which will force the slanted flat shape to its original place. This is not appropriate for small babies.

If at all you plan to try this band after your baby grows a little older, then this has its own drawbacks. The baby’s skull would have already been hardened by now when you begin the helmet treatment. And the pressure sometime causes sores in baby’s head.

It is obviously not practically to wear the head band throughout the day.

There are high chances of baby getting irritated with these helmets and would throw up a tantrum. This will only result more worries and tension.

Also there is no medical proof that this head band/helmets are efficient.

So, prevention is always better than cure. The best thing is to keep a watch for the shape of the baby’s head. Act intelligently in avoiding flattened head of your baby.

Have you checked if your baby has flat head?


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