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Positional Plagiocephaly Treatment Options

If your baby has torticollis (a limited range of motion in the neck due to muscle tightness), your baby's healthcare team will recommend exercises or a referral to a physical therapist. These will help your baby to better be able to move their head in all directions. If your baby seems to have developmental delays, your child's doctor or nurse practitioner will talk to you about what evaluations or therapies could be helpful.

If your child has positional plagiocephaly and is less than 6 months old, our team will suggest treatments for them. The most important treatment is to change the position of your baby's head when they lie down. It is important to keep them off the flat portion of their head as much as possible.

If repositioning does not work to prevent problems with positional plagiocephaly, your child's doctor or nurse practitioner might recommend other treatments. Moderate and severe positional plagiocephaly may be treated with a special helmet (PDF). Your child's provider will talk to you about this treatment if it is right for your baby. Helmets treat your baby's uneven head shape. Helmet use is usually started after 6 months of age. Your baby will wear the helmet about 23½ hours each day.

The treatment time depends on how serious the plagiocephaly is, and on the age of your child.

To prevent problems with plagiocephaly, always place babies to sleep on their backs. This is the safest way for your baby to sleep. When your baby is awake, give your baby active "tummy time." Find ways for your baby to play and move while they are on their tummy, several times each day. Choose different positions and ways for babies to play and be held. Variety and stimulation are important.

It is OK to use strollers, car seats, infant seats, bassinets, cribs and play pens when necessary. But remember that babies need a lot of time sitting in laps, cuddling, active play times and chances to move that do not only happen while sitting in one position. Play with babies to get them moving. Encourage crawling, rolling, reaching, pushing, pulling, holding and grasping.

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

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Download Spring 2014 (PDF)