A new study from Calgary-Alberta-based Mount Royal University quoted in Pediatrics (found that of 440 healthy infants sampled, 47 percent of babies ages 7 to 12 weeks had some form of Flathead Syndrome (positional plagiocephaly and torticollis).
More than a million babies each year will be diagnosed with Flathead Syndrome in the USA alone. This number has increased over 600% since 1992, and affects nearly 48% of all babies 0-6 months old. This is largely a consequence of the combination of lifestyle changes in families and because babies now sleep on their backs. If addressed early on costly and unpleasant treatment options can be avoided.
Dr. Jane Scott for the last 30 years as a physician has counseled and educated parents to help prevent as well as treat the many problems associated with Flathead Syndrome. As a result of her hands-on treatment of children with this condition she developed an infant beanie called Tortle, an FDA cleared, Class 1 medical device. The beanie is designed to help parents easily reposition their infants and prevent Plagiocephaly and Torticollis.
Awareness of positional plagiocephaly has increased since 1992, the year when parents were first encouraged to have healthy babies sleep on their back to help combat Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While infant death from SIDS has decreased by 50 percent, there has been an increase in Flathead syndrome, a condition where an infant’s head becomes flattened or misshapen from too much time on their backs in the first months of life.
“This most recent study further validates the increasing incidence rate of Flathead Syndrome and the need for greater parent education about prevention,” said Dr. Jane Scott, Pediatrician, Board Certified Neonatologist. “By incorporating some simple repositioning strategies parents can help prevent development of Plagiocephaly.”
Dr. Scott whose specialty is pediatrics and neonatology is recognized as an expert in the areas of Plagiocephaly and Torticollis. In her nearly 30 years as a practicing physician Dr. Scott has counseled and educated parents to help prevent as well as treat the many problems associated with Flathead Syndrome. In 2012 she introduced Tortle, an FDA-cleared patented Class 1 medical device which provides parents a cost effective and simple solution to prevent the Syndrome in babies 0-6 months of age. The Tortle, a lightweight knit beanie promotes proper head and neck movement, which is essential for appropriate development.
Dr. Scott has shared some great guidelines for repositioning strategies. She pushes that correct positioning is imperative. You should always reposition your baby’s head every 2-3 hours during waking hours and encourage your little one to turn their head in the opposite direction from the preferred side. I learned this early-on as a parent and can’t stress it to new moms enough.
Here are a few quick tips when it comes to preventing Flat Head Syndrome:
Feeding: You should alternate the arm in which the infant is held for both the bottle and breast feeding.
Diaper Changes: An easy fix during diaper changes is to stand on the opposite side of the changing table each time to encourage baby to turn their head to a different side in order to see you.
Sleeping: Place baby’s head at opposite ends of the crib on alternate nights. Baby can wear their Tortle for optimal alignment during any supervised sleep time throughout the day.
Tummy Time: The more tummy time, the better! You should try getting down on the floor at baby’s eye level, and play stimulating games during tummy time. While most babies are resistant to tummy time at first, it should become more enjoyable as they become more familiar with the position. I learned that starting tummy time when your infant is very young will help with this and get them familiar with playtime on their tummy.
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