Monday, December 6, 2010

Can a Flat Head be Prevented?

We have talked several times on this blog about plagiocephaly-or flat headed babies. My second child had this. I was well aware of it at just 4 weeks old. He had a tendency to turn his head to a certain angle every time he fell asleep. I was constantly trying to reposition his head. I put toys on the opposite side. He was persistent. Of course, he ended up with a flat spot and needed a helmet. This article makes it sound easy to prevent a flat headed baby, but I don't think it's always as simple as it sounds. I caught it extremely early and still wasn't able to prevent it. So don't beat yourself up if your baby has a flat head. Just do what you can to prevent it and take them to the doctor by four months old if you suspect a flat spot is forming.

FROM NBC: Parents are faced with tough choices everyday in their bid to keep children safe.

Now the fear of one deadly syndrome may be leading to new complications. As a recent study has shown four in ten babies have flatheads.
There's plenty to worry about as a new parent.
And at the top of Chris Doucher's list...
making sure his four month old daughter,
Kirsi, sleeps on her back.

Chris Doucher/Father "In the first little while, with sleep deprivation, you're always watching her... and for sure they're really serious about it... and you've heard horror stories."

Doctors recommend babies sleep on their back to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome... or SIDS. But there can be a side effect for babies
laying on their back.... plagiocephaly or flat headed babies.

Sixteen-month-old Kash Searle wars a helmet 23 hours a day to help correct a flattening of his head on one side.

Alison Searle/Mother: "His head was misshapen from the moment he was born..But it got really worse after from when he was 6 months old." Researchers suspect the length of time babies are left in car seats and other infant chairs
is largely to blame.

New born skulls are soft and pliable, making them prone to flatten.

The worry is... the condition could lead to developmental delays. And a recent study found 40 per cent of children could have some form of plagiocephaly.

Aliyah Mawji/PhD Student, University of Calgary: "I was surprised. But at the same time, when we think of everything we tell new mums to do in terms of always putting babies to sleep on their back, that's part of why they end up with flat heads."

Luckily, the problem is preventable.

Barb Mikkelsen/Physiotherapist: "Alternate the position of their head at night when they are sleeping so that they are not always looking to the same side... and when they're awake, doing some tummy time, which is really important... time off the head."

Chris Doucher has heard the warnings.

Chris Doucher/Father: "You definitely don't want it... you don't want to go through the states of having to reconstruct the head so it's normal... we're just diligent about putting her on her back and watching her."

Careful to prevent the preventable.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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