Since the “Back to Sleep” campaigns started, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or cot death has dropped by nearly two thirds. Our advice is to lay newborns on their backs to sleep. Plagiocephaly can be treated, SIDS can’t.
Babies sleeping on their backs are more prone to head misshaping, so move the baby often. Do not always use the same position.
If you get up at night to check your baby, place him or her as follows:
If your child sleeps well all night:
Our advice is to put soft supports (towel, pillow,etc) under the bottom sheet to hold the baby’s head in position.
If your child spends much time in a carrycot or other, try to follow the same guidelines.
All newborns should be put down to sleep on their backs with body turned alternately from one side to the other, with a preference for the supine (back) position.
Alternating sides is a good way of preventing positional plagiocephaly as well as reducing the risk of Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Warning: the relative risk of SIDS is 2.2 times higher with the child lying compared to the supine position.
While your baby is awake or feels like playing, we recommend Tummy Time, as long as you keep an eye on him or her. This position aids both development of the neck muscles and movement in general. This position should not be used if the baby is asleep, but while he or she is fully awake there is no danger of SIDS.
On diagnosis of plagiocephaly, postural changes are especially important, alternating between activity time face down and rest time or sleeping with the more flattened side of the head up, avoiding pressure. Holding the child in your arms may not be especially comfortable, but is always positive. Adequate neck exercising is just as important, with or without the presence of a physiotherapist.
At 3-4 months of age, depending on the severity of the condition, the use of an orthopedic band may be deemed necessary. This treatment has most effect in the period between 3-4 and 12 months of age. Older babies do not respond very well to the treatment
At 2 years or more, we may have to resort to surgery.