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Understanding Flat Spots on Babies' Heads


baby lying on back holding hands with mom




It's not uncommon for babies to have flat spots on their heads. And there are some things you can do to help.

Babies' skulls are very soft and the bones can be affected by pressure. Babies also have weak neck muscles. Because of this, they tend to turn their heads to one side when placed on their backs - and that can lead the skull to flatten.

Babies' heads can also be flattened by their position during pregnancy or birth. The medical term for this is positional plagiocephaly. 

You can help your baby have a rounder head by:

  • introducing supervised tummy time several times a day
  • avoiding long periods in bouncy seats, infant swings, and strollers
  • limiting the time your baby spends in a car seat
  • switching the positions you use to hold and carry your baby
  • changing your baby’s position in the crib each day. For example:
    • One day, place your baby with his head at one end of the crib.
    • The next day, place your baby with her head at the other end.
    • Switch ends each day. 

If your baby still develops flat spots, talk to your healthcare provider or public health nurse.

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Positional Plagiocephaly (Flattened Head) 

Last Updated: August 12, 2013