A new study published in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics shows a very disturbing trend, that the incidence of flat head syndrome, or positional plagiocephaly, was estimated at 46.6% of the 440 healthy full term infants who were studied. The infants in the study were 7 to 12 weeks old, and lived in Alberta, Canada.
Another interesting fact is that the majority of affected infants in the study, or 63.2%, were affected on the right side. This is the side my son was affected on. The vast majority, or 78.3%, were considered to have a mild form.
Other studies have shown that flat head syndrome is more common in premature infants and multiple births, which suggests that the percentage could be even higher in other groups.
It is sad to think that the incidence of flat head syndrome could be increasing. It’s difficult to say for sure because of the lack of existing comprehensive studies in the past. Even though most of the cases are considered mild, even a “mild” misshaping of a baby’s head can be upsetting for parents and for the child if it does not correct itself with age.
We still need more studies which really show how much improvement will naturally occur in infants with plagiocephaly and brachycephaly as they get older. Until that time, we just need to continue to spread the word and help educate parents, caregivers, and doctors about strategies to help minimize or alleviate these conditions.