Fewer babies are dying of SIDS today in part because of the "Back to Sleep" campaign. That campaign encourages parents and caretakers to put babies to sleep on their backs. With that good news, there has come another problem. Now, one-third to half of all babies ends up with a flat side of the head. Because they favor the same position every time they sleep.
Dr. Joshua Demke, a cranial-facial surgeon at Texas Tech, says it's not life-threatening. It doesn't mean there's brain damage, but before it becomes a life-long cosmetic problem, parents may be able to fix the problem at home.
"Encourage the baby to not sleep on that side, and to keep the baby off, flip the baby in the crib or in the car seat, so that they aren't laying on that side. We call those repositioning maneuvers. If that's not enough, especially if it's a severe deformity, by about 6 months of age, we'll often times recommend molding helmet or molding band."
Dr. Demke adds the helmet is not an overnight fix. Babies may need to wear them from 6 to 9 months. So, if you're concerned about a child's misshapen head, the first step is to talk to your pediatrician.
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