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“Flat-head” syndrome risk with infants sleeping on back

Opportunity to promote body symmetry and alignment from infancy onward

Back sleeping is commonly advised for newborns to reduce the incidence of crib death. However, a recent study in the journal Pediatrics of 2-month-old infants found skull flattening (aka positional plagiocephaly) in nearly half of these babies.

Researchers looked at 440 babies to assess asymmetries in the forehead, skull and ear position. Head flattening was predominantly seen on the right side (64% of cases), with most deformation being mild (36%) or moderate (19%). Possible long term effects can include permanent facial changes, and when severe can be treated with special helmets to relieve pressure on the flattened areas of the skull to allow normal bone growth.

TAKEAWAY: Promote symmetry of motion and body position from the cradle onward.

 

“The Incidence of Positional Plagiocephaly: A Cohort Study.” Aliyah Mawji, RN, PhD, Ardene Robinson Vollman, RN, PhD, Jennifer Hatfield, PhD, Deborah A. McNeil, RN, PhD, and Reginald Sauvé, MD, MPH, FRCPC.  Pediatrics Journal.

 

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