What is the risk my baby will get “flat head syndrome?”


A: The fact is all babies are at risk of getting flat head syndrome. The good news is if you’re asking this before you have your baby, and you understand how to prevent it, then the chances of it developing in your baby are significantly lower.

Flat head syndrome is a condition in which flat spots form on baby’s skull, often combined with a tight neck muscle due to babies spending up to 16 hours a day on their backs in the first few months of life. Sometimes babies are born with the condition due to position in utero or birth trauma. In both cases, if you begin repositioning your infant right after birth, you can avoid long term issues from flat head syndrome. Here’s how:

Start supervised tummy time as soon as possible with your baby. This will strengthen their neck muscles and get them comfortable in this position as they grow. Alternate the arm in which you hold baby for both bottle and breast feeding.

For diaper changes, stand on the opposite side of the changing table each time to encourage baby to turn their head to a different side in order to see you.

At night, place baby’s head at opposite ends of the crib on alternate nights.

Finally, purchase a Tortle for your baby to wear as soon as they’re born. Tortle is an infant beanie with a positioning roll for baby to wear anytime they are on their back in a car seat, stroller, bouncer, playmat or bassinet. The positioning roll should be placed behind the baby’s ear and switched to the other side after each feeding, so baby doesn’t begin to favor any particular area. Baby can wear their Tortle for optimal alignment during any supervised sleep time throughout the day.

–Dr. Jane Scott


Dr. Jane Scott, Pediatrician and Neonatologist is a mother of four and also the inventor of the Tortle, a device designed to make it easy for parents to properly position their infants.  Her mission is to end flat syndrome across the world and she is currently writing her first book on plagiocephaly, which is slated for release in Spring/Summer 2013.

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