Risk Factors for Developing Plagiocephaly

Some babies are more at risk of developing flat head syndrome:

  • Those suffering from torticollis (a tight or shortened muscle on one side of the neck) which restricts neck movement and can initiate a side preference as they are more likely to lie with their head to the same side. Once a flattened area has developed the baby will often find it more comfortable to continue lying on the flattened area, which can itself lead to shortening of the neck muscle and the development of torticollis

  • It is more common in boys

  • Premature babies, as the cranial bones become stronger and harder in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy. Also, if they spend time in neonatal care on a respirator as their heads are maintained in a fixed position

  • Babies with large heads

  • Babies with low muscle tone

  • Babies with a low birth weight

  • Multiple birth babies (as conditions in the womb will be cramped)

  • Bottle fed babies are also more at risk as, unlike breastfed babies, they tend to feed from the same side at each feed

But all babies who spend prolonged time lying or sitting with their head in the same position whether in a cot, pram, car seat, baby rocker, swing or activity mat could potentially develop positional plagiocephaly.

We hope you found this information on the risk factors for developing plagiocephaly (baby flat head syndrome) useful and informative.  If you are concerned about baby flat head, please see our practical tips to help avoid and treat baby flat head.