Positional Plagiocephaly

Positional Plagiocephaly

Positional plagiocephaly is a flat spot usually in the back of a baby's head, that causes an abnormal head shape. This happens when a baby lays on one side of the head preferentially over another.

Since the start of the "Back to Sleep" campaign (a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that babies be placed on their back for sleep to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)), many babies develop flat spots in the back of their head.

Some babies develop positional plagiocephaly in the uterus, sometimes from position and often with multiple births. The extent of the flattening and abnormal head shape is highly variable.

The majority of babies can be treated with tummy time, frequent changing of head position, and encouraging a baby not to lay on the flat side of the head. The shape tends to get better once babies learn to sit up and spend less time laying on their back.

Other babies with very severe changes in head shape may need a helmet to mold and shape the head into a more normal shape. Helmet therapy has to be initiated early (before 4-6 months of age) in order to be effective. If not initiated in a timely manner, the head shape may become permanently asymmetric.

A small number of babies, who have a very strong preference to look in one direction or 'tilt' their head, can develop neck muscle tightness, called torticollis. This can lead to a limited range of motion in the neck and can worsen head shape. Physical therapy and stretching exercises are recommended if this happens.

It is important for your pediatrician to check your baby's head shape at every visit. If you or your pediatrician has concerns about your child's head shape, call for more information or schedule an appointment at

If you'd like more information or want to schedule an appointment, please call 316-688-7500 or click below.

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Helmet Needed?

If a helmet is prescribed for your baby, the nearest facility to obtain the helmet is:
Hangar Clinic
410 North Hillside, Suite 100
Wichita, KS 67214
Phone: (316) 685-1268
Fax: (316) 687-5415

Hours:Monday - Friday, 8 am. - 5 pm.
Clinic Info: 24/7 on-call emergency support
Free Parking
Most insurance companies accepted
ABC accredited

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