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Positional Plagiocephaly (Flattened Head)

What if My Baby Already Has a Flat Area

​​​​​Your public health nurse will check your baby's head shape at each Well Child Clinic visit. The nurse will talk with you about ways to help correct the flat area (for example, ways to limit the amount of time that your baby lies on the flat part of her head). The nurse will also tell you about supports, including repositioning classes in your community. Make sure to speak with your doctor if you are concerned about the shape of your baby’s head.

Check with your doctor or public health nurse if you notice:

  • your baby is always looking in one direction or his head is tipped to one side
  • ongoing trouble breastfeeding on one side
  • trouble positioning your baby's head to one side
  • a big change in your baby's head shape

What if positioning isn’t enough?

If positioning doesn’t correct the flat area on the head your doctor may suggest your baby wear a custom fitted helmet.

A custom-fitted helmet is a safe, non-surgical treatment. You can be prescribed one through the:

These corrective helmets work by redirecting skull growth over time to improve the appearance of your baby’s head shape. The helmet keeps gentle pressure over the areas of your baby’s head that are prominent and creates space over the areas that are flat, providing room for baby’s skull to grow. The helmet also prevents your baby from lying on the flat spot.

The helmet is usually worn 23 hours a day, for 3 to 4 months. Adjustments to the helmet mean a visit to the clinic every few weeks. The best time to begin using the helmet is when your baby is between 6 and 9 months old (before the bones in the head have fused).

The cost of the corrective helmet isn’t covered by Alberta Health Care. Check with your extended healthcare plan or private insurance.

If you want to learn more about safe sleeping, tummy time, and preventing a flat area on your baby's head, there are free classes in your community. To find out more, call Health Link​​ ​at 811.

Current as of: September 4, 2019

Author: Head Shape Program, Alberta Health Services