Understanding Flat Head Syndrome

Article written by Philip Owen, Paediatric Osteopath

Parents of babies fall into three categories with respect to the understanding of Flat Head Syndrome.

  1. Firstly, those who have never heard of the condition and have never seen it.
  2. Secondly, those who have have had either first hand experience with a prior child/baby or have seen it with a friends baby, or have maybe read about it and are fearful that their baby will develop the condition. In this group, the parents are generally aware of how to spot the condition as it develops and have researched the preventative measures on how to stop the onset.
  3. Thirdly, these are generally a follow on from some of the first group, in as much as these parents have suddenly woken up to the fact that there baby seems to have an awkwardly shaped head and they are frantically gaining as much information as possible about the cause and further more, the treatments available.


The advice in the early days is quite simple…

  • Observation – It is important to keep your eye on your babies head an insect it from time to time FROM ABOVE. Check the shape of the surfaces that come into contact with the mattress sheets and see if there appears to any flattening, either at the back or on one side or the other.
  • Movements – Check that you baby is able to rotate their head equally to both sides. If your baby prefers to rotate to one side only s\he may well be developing a flatness on the side to which s\he is rotating.


There are various remedies recommended with varying degrees of success.

    1. Reduce the pressure on the affected part by:
      • using a SleepCurve mattress which has been clinically proved to work
      • placing you baby on his or her tummy when not asleep
      • encouraging you baby to look away from their favourite side – not effective.
    2. Understand what is the cause of the Flat Head Syndrome:
      • Discontinue using a flat mattress, replace with a SleepCurve mattress.
      • Remove all other flat surfaces away from your baby’s head, eg bouncy chair, minimising time in car-seats, taking care when baby is under a play-gym and
        not putting him/her on a hard carpet or hard floor without a SleepCurve
        activity mat.
      • Correct with cranial osteopathy any head rotation problems causing torticolis.

For further information, please contact a member of the SleepCurve team.

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