SleepCurve & Alder Hey Children’s Hospital


Leading NHS children’s hospital finds simple solution to flat head syndrome – the SleepCurve® mattress.

The Alder Hey NHS Children’s Foundation Hospital has made a revolutionary breakthrough in curing the increasingly common and distressing problem for babies and young infants – flat head syndrome, with the development of a new baby mattress, by The SleepCurve® Company.

The Craniofacial Unit at Alder Hey NHS Children’s Foundation Hospital has completed a study into the effectiveness of the SleepCurve mattress for the management of patients referred to the unit with positional plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) – with significant results.

Of the 40 babies with flat head syndrome monitored under the study, all bar one showed improvement.  Christian Duncan, who led the study, explained: “The SleepCurve mattress is an effective low-cost treatment for positional plagiocephaly, a common condition for which there are few options for families”.

According to the NHS Alder Hey study, flat head syndrome is currently the most common head shape deformity and is thought to be due to external pressure on a developing skull restricting growth of the skull – some reports* suggest that as many as 48% of babies under a year old are affected by the condition to some degree.  For the leaders of the NHS Alder Hey study, and for paediatric cranial osteopath Philip Owen, D.O., B.Sc.(Hons), the inventor of the SleepCurve mattress, the cause is obvious.

The study states that over the last 15 years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of anxious parents concerned over the shape of their baby’s head. This has coincided with a fundamental shift in the sleeping position of infants brought about by the hugely successful ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign that was introduced to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, placing babies on flat mattresses and other flat surfaces in this way creates pressure on babies’ skulls.

SleepCurve mattresses allow baby’s head to move freely; help to promote correct posture, and aid breathing by preventing baby’s head from being pushed forward onto the chest.  The specially designed ‘heat flow channels’ on every SleepCurve mattress help to dissipate warm air away from baby to keep baby cooler, while a gentle slope from head to foot can help to reduce reflux.

The Alder Hey study is now complete but the Craniofacial Unit continues to use SleepCurve mattresses as part of its treatment protocols.  The hospital’s outreach programmes also recommend SleepCurve to parents, ensuring babies are treated earlier, thus reducing referrals, resulting in a cost benefit for the NHS.

Further information on The SleepCurve Company and their range of baby mattresses can be found on the company website