With concern over your infant’s head shape, parents should continue to follow the Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for safe sleep. That is unless your pediatrician directs otherwise, you should place baby on their back EVERY time they are put down to sleep. Since the Back to Sleep Campaign in 1994, there has been a whopping 50% decline in the number of SIDS cases.
There are misconceptions about what SIDS is or how it occurs. One is that SIDS is suffocation and it simply is not. Research that back sleeping is safer for infants continues to mount. Please take a look at this excellent article by Rhonda Patt, MD in the Charlotte Observer, which details what is recommended. Veering from these recommendations could have serious consequences on your infant.
Consider this. For the past 20 years, babies have been sleeping on their backs to prevent SIDS, So why is flat head syndromes like plagiocephaly, brachycephaly and torticollis continuing to get worse and worse with every passing year?
Research is starting to show (as does every day in the clinic) that its not the back sleeping causing the head shape issues but the new daily routines that have been introduced during the past 5-10 years. The amount of equipment being sold for the day to day use of raising an infant is staggering, these are the swings, bouncy seats, bumbo seats, that many parents employ. For those infants that are vulnerable, it can be extremely detrimental to their head shape. Some babies will be fine with lots of equipment use. Others will show delayed development and early signs of flat head syndrome like plagiocephaly and brachycephaly.
*Please note: lay your baby down on her back to sleep. If she then rolls herself to her side or onto her tummy, that is okay (you don’t need to roll her back onto her back)
I hope this was helpful!
Susan Slaughter, MS, OTR/L.