If you’ve noticed your newborn baby’s head is a little misshapen don’t panic! They are probably just suffering from a common condition called Flat Head Syndrome. Flat head in babies can present itself in a number of different ways. When the flattening is on the back of the head this is called Brachycephaly, while if it is on one side it’s referred to as Plagiocephaly. In some cases of flat head in babies the condition is caused by serious medical condition called Craniosynostosis.
Common causes of flat head syndrome are the frequency of resting an infant’s head on one side without regular movements. This is corrected by balancing the position of the baby’s head on all sides, using baby head support or helmets to correct the misshapen head. Your paediatrician should be able to advise on the correct method for reducing the impact of flat head.
Clinical studies have identified a few characteristics of babies who may be prone to flat head syndrome. These include male infants, a baby diagnosed to have been suffering from reflux, babies with a naturally deeper and wider head and twins or children of a multiple birth (i.e. triplets, quadruplets, etc).
A common belief associated with flat head syndrome is that helmet is the sole cure for this problem. In fact, the helmet is an effective treatment for flat head in babies more than six months but it is not the only one. Another thing to consider is that the cost of a custom made baby helmet can be quite substantial. Also wearing the helmet for as long as eighteen hours a day can cause trauma to the child. In some cases, the babies are made to wear baby head support to treat the problem.
A common myth associated with flat head is that babies who sleep on their backs are more prone to developing flat head syndrome. This is not true. The main reason for flat head syndrome is when a pressure is applied on the skull during birth, lack of baby head support or when that soft skull of babies are made to contract with hard objects over a long period of time.
Some people believed that the syndrome of flat head in babies is just a cosmetic problem. Yet a study conducted at Children’s Institute in Seattle found that the problem is related to developmental delays among children. Further studies are being conducted to know if there is an aggravating effect of this condition on newborn.
Flat head in babies can be easily corrected with medical help and the correct baby head support. There are, however, long term issues associated with untreated Flat head Syndrome. This includes higher risks of development and learning delays, increased need for assistance during school age, TMJ and orthodontic issues, Visual impairment, Social and Psychological issues, Scoliosis, and auditory problems.
A great seating option that provides the appropriate level of baby head support to prevent flat head from developing is the baby beanbag. As the beans in the baby beanbag work to mould around the head and support it, they are the perfect means to prevent flat head in babies.
While this condition is being analysed if there are mental or psychological effects, parents are encouraged to take actions if they are starting to notice the symptoms on their child. Consult your paediatrician for treatment consideration, baby head support and further analysis on the condition of your child.