A new study has possibly linked cognitive and motor delays with ‘flat head syndrome” in young babies, however, researchers caution parents and caregivers not to be alarmed; more study needed to determine if delays are persistent and significant. As with anything, take the following information with a grain of salt until more concrete findings are available. The best policy is to research, research, research and then take your questions and concerns to your doctor.
Video: Watch 5 min. video of study author discussing findings, including tips for parents and caregivers:
Tips for parents and caregivers:
* Flat spots in a young baby’s head can be quite common, and by itself they are not a cause for alarm. Ask your baby’s doctor about it.
* If your baby is diagnosed with plagiocephaly, ask the doctor to screen for developmental delays in both motor and cognitive skills. Talk about the results.
* Remember that babies develop at different times, and at different rates. What is “normal” for your baby may be ahead of or
behind what is normal for another baby. Babies who start out slower often catch up later.
* Always place babies to sleep on their backs: this remains the safest way to sleep. Place your baby’s head at one end of the crib and switch to the other end the next night.
* Encourage active “tummy time” when babies are awake: find ways to for baby to engage, play and move while on their tummy, several times each day. Watch your baby during tummy time.
* Choose different positions and ways for babies to play and be held: variety of stimulation is important. Switch the arm you use to cradle your baby each feeding session; right one time, left the next.
* Use strollers, car seats, infant seats, bassinets, cribs and play pens when necessary, but remember that babies need frequent lap time, cuddling, active play times and chances to move that aren’t limited to being in stationary positions.
* Develop motor skills: play with babies to get them moving. Encourage crawling, rolling, reaching, pushing, pulling, holding,
* Develop cognitive skills: play with babies to get them thinking and talking. Encourage interactions with their environment, looking, listening, imitating, babbling, singing, talking, reading.
Speltz’s study collaborators included Brent R. Collett, PhD; Marni Stott-Miller; Jacqueline R. Starr, PhD; Carrie Heike, MD, MS; Antigone M. Wolfram-Aduan; Darcy King, ARNP; and Michael L. Cunningham, MD, PhD.
About Seattle Children’s Research Institute
At the forefront of pediatric medical research, Seattle Children’s Research Institute
setting new standards in pediatric care and finding new cures for childhood diseases. Internationally recognized scientists and physicians at the Research Institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics. With Seattle Children’s Hospital and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Research Institute brings together the best minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org/research.
For information on the national Back-to-Sleep campaign and the ongoing importance of babies sleeping on their backs, visit:
For information on positional plagiocephaly, visit: