When you’re introduced to someone’s baby, the meeting is usually fuelled with lots of oohing and aahing as we coo over how cute and sweet they are – but pointing out any abnormalities we may have noticed isn’t the traditional approach.
Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a disorder which affects the skull, causing the back or side of a baby’s head to appear flattened. And while it may sound rather alarming, it’s actually a much more common condition than you might think, affecting up to half of all babies under one year old with one in thirty having a severe head shape deformity. And the good news is, it is a condition that can be easily improved if noticed early enough.
But despite it affecting a lot of babies, many parents are unaware of the condition and if left untreated, it can lead to difficulties down the line. So while it may be a tricky subject to mention, in the long run, the parents may be grateful you had the courage to say something.
If you’re struggling with how best to say something, here are some suggestions on how to go about telling someone that you’ve noticed that their baby has a plagiocephaly.
1. Delicately bring up the subject
One approach is to delicately raise the subject in conversation to try and determine whether the parents are aware of the condition. If they are familiar with flat head syndrome, it may prompt them to check their baby themselves and once they’ve been made aware, they can begin seeking advice about treatment.
If they aren’t aware of the condition when you bring it up, this will give you an opportunity to share your knowledge and give you a window to sensitively bring up your concerns.
2. Share your own experience
Drawing on your personal experiences is another good way to ease into the conversation, as it will make the topic seem less out of the blue. If you have gone through the experience with your own child, or perhaps you know somebody else who has been affected by it, you have a valid reason for raising the issue and the parents will likely be very appreciative of your concern.
3. Refer to topical articles
Referring to some articles about the condition that you might have read recently will provide an easier opening for the conversation, giving you a chance to discuss the topic without it coming across as too blunt. It’s a much more subtle approach and if you share the article with the parents, it will give them some useful information which they may find helpful.
If you are concerned about the condition, these are two of the most common symptoms of flat head syndrome to keep an eye out for:
The word Plagiocephaly describes a skull shape which is flattened to one side at the back either on the left or the right of the head. This causes the skull to look asymmetrical and can result in a slight bulging in the forehead and face on the same side as the flattening at the back.
Brachycephaly describes a flattening across the back of the skull where the head shape is wider than usual, the skull can also look higher than usual at the back.
In most cases, the head shape shows a combination of plagiocephaly and brachycephaly and this is identified at assessment.
If noticed early enough, treatments to correct the head shape deformity are known to be successful.
For more information about flat head syndrome and the forms of treatment, get in touch with us and book a free no-obligation assessment with one of our leading clinical orthotists.