Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about flat head syndrome, plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, and torticollis

Q: What is Flat Head Syndrome?

A: Flat Head Syndrome is a common name for three conditions – plagiocephaly, brachiocephaly, and scaphocephaly. The appearance of the condition is noted by a flat spot on a baby’s skull. The condition can be confused with more serious cranial deformities, so your physician may request X-ray or MRI imaging in order to rule out the presence of a condition called craniosynostosis. For more information on the condition itself, check out my eBook.


Q: Is Flat Head Syndrome a permanent condition?

A: Flat Head Syndrome is still being studied, and the research on this so far is inadequate. The condition can have lasting impacts, but it is usually treatable if noticed early on.  It will depend on many factors, such as how severe the flattening is and the age of the child.

Q:  What is the difference between plagiocephaly and brachycephaly?

A:  The difference between plagiocephaly and brachycephaly has to do with where the flattening occurs and the resulting shape of the head. Plagiocephaly is where one side of the back of the head is flattened, and brachycephaly is where the flattening is across the entire back of the head.  This article shows drawings of each of these conditions shown from above, which is the best way to see the difference. Note that sometimes babies have a combination of both of these conditions, which is what my son had.

Q:  How can I tell if my baby’s head flattening is severe or not?

A:  The only way to be sure of the degree of severity is to take accurate measurements of your baby’s head, ideally using a laser scanner. Ask your doctor or pediatrician where these measurements can be taken in your area.
To measure the severity of plagiocephaly, you measure the two diagonals of the head and if the difference is 5 mm or greater, then this indicates plagiocephaly to some degree.
For brachycephaly, you compare the width of the head to the length (front to back).  If the width is more than 90% of the length, then there is brachycephaly present.
For more deetails on how measurements are taken and the severity scales, please see this link:


Q: Why did you create this site?

A: This site was directly inspired by my own experiences as a mother of a little boy with Flat Head Syndrome. I realized that if I had been given some of this information when he was younger, he may not have suffered from the condition in the first place. As a result, I decided to do what I can to keep other parents from going through the heartache I experienced.  I am not a doctor, but I have collected the most useful and relevant information that I have found by researching this topic to share with other parents and caregivers.

Q: Why do you include so much information on safe sleep habits and SIDS?

A: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a dangerous condition. Many parents try to keep their children safe from SIDS, but don’t know how. I try to include information here on the topic because safe sleep habits are important, and the incidence of a reduction in the number of cases of SIDS is actually tied to the increase in cases of Flat Head Syndrome. That doesn’t have to be the case, though. If parents are educated about both conditions, and practice safe sleep habits combined with tummy time, we can decrease both Flat Head Syndrome and SIDS.