More Babies Developing Flat Spots From Sleeping On Back

A campaign against SIDS may be the cause of more flat spots on babies' heads.

Babies should be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS, though it may increase the chance of an infant developing a flat spot.

Photo: Ernesto Huang (Flickr)

Babies should be put to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS, though it may increase the chance of an infant developing a flat spot.

A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics finds more babies now have a flattened head from sleeping on their backs.

Still, St. Vincent Pediatrician Amanda Beach says parents should put babies to sleep on their backs because it reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Beach says flat spots won’t hamper brain growth and are usually very correctible.

“So if babies are laid on their back for a long period of time, they can get kind of a spot in their head where they prefer to lay that gets flatter because the bones are still moving,” says Beach. “So usually it’s something that develops in that first couple of months of life because we are telling people to put babies on their back to sleep.”

Beach says since the 1990s pediatricians have urged parents to lay infants on their backs because it is safer. To prevent babies from developing a flat spot, Beach says parents can have babies lie on their stomachs for a couple of minutes two times a day.

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