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 months. 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. --BERNAMA EE