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Oh No, My Baby’s Head is Flat! – Part 1

You just had your baby, and you think all your worries and concerns have gone away! You look down at your baby sleeping in your arms and you notice their head is not perfectly rounded, there’s a flat spot on one side of their head. What does this mean? Is there something wrong with my baby? 

March 20 is National Plagiocephaly and Torticollis awareness day. What is plagiocephaly and torticollis and how does this have anything to do with my child? Plagiocephaly is a condition known as flat head syndrome which is when the baby develops a flattening on the back or side of the head. If left untreated, these babies may develop vision problems and asymmetries of the head and face. There are four types of asymmetrical head shapes when it comes to cranial deformities. 

  • Scaphocephaly: the head is long and narrow. 
  • Brachycephaly: the entire back of the head is flat. This usually occurs when a baby is lying on their backs for prolonged periods of time (swing, car seat, DockATot or Snuggle Me Organic). Typically these babies do not usually have any facial asymmetry to be concerned of. 
  • Plagiocephaly: the infant lays on one side or the other and causes one side to be flat. When this occurs there are asymmetries that usually arise. The forehead sticks out more on that side, the cheek is fuller, and the ear is further forward. With these asymmetries the child can be more prone to ear infections or lock jaw. In addition, finding a helmet, hat or glasses can be tricky when the ears are not aligned. 
  • Asymmetrical Brachycephaly is a combination of both plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. 

Torticollis is a condition where a child’s neck muscles tighten, causing the head to tilt in one direction and the child favours that side. When this occurs the child usually ends up laying on one side of their head which can lead to cranial asymmetry. 

If you are at all concerned about your child’s head shape and you would like a second opinion, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office for a complimentary consultation. We would be more than happy to do an assessment and discuss your child specifically. Don’t miss next month’s article where we discuss helmet treatment! 

Dawn MacArthur Turner MSc CO c, Certified Orthotist, Custom Orthotics of London Inc.
(519) 850-4721 office@customorthoticsoflondon.com | @cool_bracing


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