Since the Back to Sleep Campaign, there has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of plagiocephaly, and thus demand for treatment. Increasingly, parents are looking to specially moulded plagiocephaly helmets in order to treat the condition – only to discover that the NHS refuses to fund this kind of treatment. In fact, it is almost unheard of for parents to obtain a plagiocephaly helmet on the NHS.
Why is it that, in spite of mounting pressure from parents, private clinics and the press, the NHS is still refusing to change its stance on plagiocephaly helmets?
Many parents that contact us or visit us at our clinics often ask “what’s a normal head shape for a baby?” and “how can I tell if the flattening is plagiocephaly?” Although we would always advise that you visit one of our leading orthotists for a professional diagnosis if you are concerned about your baby’s head shape, this blog post offers some key indicators for recognising plagiocephaly and the steps you can take to treat the condition.
The truth about pillows for flat head syndrome
The incidence of flat head syndrome has soared since the Back to Sleep (AKA Safe to Sleep) campaign, and increasingly, parents have been looking for new ways to prevent and correct the condition. Pillows for flat head syndrome are one of the cheapest and most readily available options, but do they actually work (and crucially, are they safe)? (more…)
Baby head shapes: what’s normal and what isn’t?
Many of the parents who come to see us are anxious about the shapes of their babies’ heads. We are often asked things like ‘what should a baby’s head look like?’ and ‘how severe a flattening is too severe?’, so we thought we might put a few minds at rest by answering some of these questions here. (more…)
What are the advantages of choosing a plagiocephaly helmet over conservative (repositioning) therapy?
Plagiocephaly helmets offer a safe and non-invasive treatment for asymmetrical and unusually wide head shapes. They do not interfere with development and work similarly to the teeth bracing worn by older children and young adults. This post explores the benefits of a plagiocephaly helmet to help you decide on the best course of action for your baby. (more…)
Experts recommend tummy time for all babies to help develop their motor skills and protect against flat head syndrome. However, as most parents who have tried it will readily attest, getting your little one to feel comfortable lying face-down can be easier said than done. If you want to know how to make tummy time and repositioning easier, read on to discover some tried and tested methods that other parents find useful. (more…)
Torticollis (also known as wry neck) is a very common condition, often seen in babies who have developed plagiocephaly. It is characterised by an inability to turn the head fully in both directions, and there may also be a head tilt towards the affected muscle. As the muscle is tight and cramped this may be painful for your baby, who could also be quite irritable. Adults often wake up with a stiff neck in the morning, known as acute torticollis, but this tends to resolve itself fairly quickly. However, congenital torticollis (that which is present at birth) requires active treatment. This post explains what to do if your baby has torticollis, helping prevent the face and skull from growing unevenly, and improving the range of motion of the head and neck. (more…)
Do Baby Carriers and Car Seats Cause Flat Head Syndrome?
The dramatic rise in the incidence of baby flat head syndrome over the last couple of decades has largely been attributed to the Back to Sleep Campaign. Placing babies on the back to sleep is essential as a means of reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but if the baby is kept in one position, it can put continual pressure on the back of the head, which can eventually cause a flat spot to emerge. (more…)
The relationship between plagiocephaly and ear infections recently came up in discussion on our Facebook page. In light of this, we thought we would share with you what is currently known about the link between plagiocephaly and otitis media (middle ear infections), bearing in mind that research in this area is limited. (more…)