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Many babies suffer from a flattened skull on one side or the other of the head. This deformity, called plagiocephaly, is sometimes treated with a flat pillow. Is it useful? On the contrary, are they dangerous for infants? update with dr Andreas Werner, pediatrician in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Mpedia expert.
World Plagiocephaly Day is April 4th. This deformation of the skull affects many children in France in the first months of life. It is explained by a lying position that is too important for the child during the day.
Plagiocephaly, a disease that affects babies who aren’t carried enough
“Children’s heads are malleable in the first months of life“, explains Dr. Werner first. “It’s physiological, it makes the birth easier for the mother.”. But this malleable skull can also deform easily, and that’s when kids find themselves in a reclined position too often. “A baby from birth to around 6 months of age needs to be carried. I often hear mothers say that they let their child lie down for many hours during the day under the pretext that the child is not saying anything. But it’s a mistake” the pediatrician hammers.
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Anti-flat pillows, the solution?
Prevention therefore consists in carrying your child as much as possible during the day and not leaving him in bed or on a deckchair during the day. “The only time a child should lie down is at night. In other countries of the world, where the customs are different and the child is carried, this deformation does not exist.” adds dr Added Werner.
According to him, anti-flat pillows in pediatrics are not a solution, they are not recommended by official bodies. “Not only are these pillows not recommended, they are actually dangerous as they increase the risk of cot death and suffocation for the baby. warn the doctor.
Plagiocephaly, a permanent deformation of the skull?
Fortunately, plagiocephaly disappears as the skull grows larger. “In general, the problem settles with the age of the child from 6 months. He no longer lies motionless, but begins to turn around, sit down… Only in rare cases does the deformation remain visible. But she easily camouflages herself with her hair.”
HAT recommendations to prevent flat head
- Continue to sleep the baby on their back to limit the risk of unexpected infant death while allowing them freedom to move their head and body day and night.
- When the baby sleeps:
- – Lay him on his back, in his bed on a firm mattress, in a sleeping bag
- – Do not put anything in his bed (neither duvets nor toys) to prevent him from getting caught and choking on it
- – Do not use bed reducers, headrests and baby supports: this will allow him to move freely.
- – Let him look in all directions without a bed border.
- When the baby is awake:
- – Vary his positions during floor play activities: Arrange his toys around him to encourage him to look to the side.
- – Gradually get him used to lying on his stomach when changing his diaper so that he develops neck and back muscles.
- – Hold him in your arms often.
- – Remember to switch arms with every bottle or feeding: your baby will turn his head to get your attention.
- – Limit the stay in the childcare facilities as much as possible (deck chair, baby relax, cozy, etc.) and reserve seat shells for transport in the car.
To learn more: Preventing Flat Head – Advice for Parents – HAS