In the 1990’s, doctors started recommending that all babies be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or cot death. Since the start of this campaign, the incidence of SIDS has dropped by almost 40%. However there has been a related increase in the number of children who have developed positional plagiocephaly (or positional flat head syndrome).
What is positional Plagiocephaly?
Positional Plagiocephaly, a condition where the back or side of the baby’s head appears to be flattened, is caused by the baby resting its head for long periods against flat surfaces, including cot mattresses. Because babies’ skulls are made up of several different plates that are not yet fused together, they are much more susceptible to external pressures and are therefore prone to the condition.
Plagiocephaly occurs either evenly across the back of the head, or off to one side. This is because some babies lie with their head straight while others prefer it turned.