Early detection of flat head syndrome/ plagiocephaly or, indeed, having a preferred side to which their baby rotates their head is imperative.
There are several options open to parents to start treatment of this condition.
As mentioned previously the flattening process can steadily be becoming worse if the cause, ie the flat surface is not removed. I do not believe positioning techniques whereby the baby is encouraged to look in the opposite direction are of much value. This is due to gravity constantly pulling on the baby’s head to bring it back on to the flat surface. If the baby’s head is constantly being pulled back on to the flat spot the flattening process will invariably become worse.
Recent research conducted at a major paediatric teaching hospital has published the results of clinical trials in The Journal of Cranio-Facial Surgery on SleepCurve mattresses. Thier conclusion was that the mattress was an effective treatment for Flat Head Syndrome. (Click here for information on the results).
I have to admit to having played a large part of the design of these ergonomic mattresses. They are rather like having a comfortable office chair to sit in for the first time compared to being used to sitting on an uncomfortable flat plank of wood.
In the photos above you can clearly see how the water-filled balloon is gently cradled on a SleepCurve mattress protecting the round shape of the soft skull of the baby when compared to a flat surface.
The design of the mattress allows the baby’s head to move freely away from the flat spots thereby encouraging and permitting self-correction of plagiocephaly as well as keeping the airways in the post open position for easier breathing. See more at www.sleepcurve.com
Helmets are used to place over the baby’s head to protect the skull from external flat surfaces.
It is more preferable than lying a baby directly on to a flat surface as it takes the pressure off the flat spot.
The helmets are expensive as they are priced at around £2000 to 4000 each and babies can find them hot and they are a bit obtrusive. However, they can be the best option in severe cases of Positional Plagiocephaly.