NEARLY HALF OF BABIES SLEEPING ON BACK HAVE FLATTENED HEADS: STUDY
12 Jul 2013 11:19
WASHINGTON, July 9 (Bernama) -- Almost half of newborns develop flat spots on
their heads by two months old as a result of sleeping on their backs to prevent
sudden infant death syndrome, a new study has found.
The study published in the U.S. journal Pediatrics studied the occurrence of
positional plagiocephaly or flat spots on heads in infants 7 to 12 weeks of age
attending a child clinic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Researchers from the Canadian Mount Royal University assessed 440 healthy
full-term infants who had been born at more than 37 weeks of pregnancy, Xinhua
news agency reported.
Of these, 205 infants or 46.6 percent were observed to have some form of flat
spots on their heads. Of all infants with the condition, 63.2 percent had
flattening on the right side and 78.3 percent had a mild form of the condition.
"Since the 1992 recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to
have infants sleep on their backs, infant mortality from sudden infant death
syndrome has declined dramatically," the researchers said in a statement.
"One consequence, however, has been an increase in positional plagiocephaly
or flat spots on infants' heads."
Researchers said the high rate of head flattening indicates that parents
should be educated early about how to prevent the condition from occurring.
Flat spots, however, are generally harmless.
Researchers said there is some indication that children with positional
plagiocephaly have mild developmental delays, but they typically disappear by 18
The condition can be corrected by repositioning the infants while they sleep,
encouraging them to alternate their head position while sleeping on their backs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using any wedge pillows
or other devices to keep babies in one position, and only kids with severe cases
may need to wear a special orthotic helmet.