Positional plagiocephaly flattened head A

newborn's head is often slightly misshapen during the few days or weeks after birth, because the passage through the birth canal often temporarily elongates a baby's soft skull bones. However, a persistent flat spot either in the back or on one side of his head can result from being put to sleep on his back or by problems with the baby's neck muscles. Fortunately, this condition will correct itself by the time the child is one year old.

Because infants' heads are soft to allow for incredible brain growth in the first year of life, they are susceptible to being molded into a flat shape. The number of flattened head syndrome cases increased sixfold from 1992 to 1994, occurring in about 33 out of every 10,000 births, because of the "Back to Sleep" campaign begun in 1992 by the AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS (AAP). The AAP recommends that babies sleep on their backs to prevent SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME (SIDS), which has dropped by almost 40 percent in the United States since the campaign began. Experts know that the occasional side effect of this sleeping position— a flattened head—is worth preventing SIDS, especially because the condition can be corrected easily.

Premature babies are more prone to positional plagiocephaly because their skulls are softer than those of full-term babies, and they spend a great deal of time on their backs without being moved because of their extreme fragility after birth. A baby may even start to develop positional plagio-cephaly before birth, if the baby's skull is pressured by the mother's pelvis or by a twin.

The deformities seen in children with flattened head syndrome should not be confused with those

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