Putting babies to sleep on their backs has helped in the battle to prevent sudden infant death syndrome -- but it's having a side-effect.
A new study found that nearly 50 percent of two-month-old babies have a flat spot on the back of their heads from spending too much time on their backs.
Many cases are mild, and concerns about SID take precedent over concerns about flattened head conditions.
Helmets, physical therapy and other non-invasive measures can usually help correct the condition, but researchers say pediatricians may want to discuss ways of preventing it before children come in for a two-month checkup.
While parents and caregivers should continue to place infants on their backs to sleep, they can try repositioning strategies, including:
- Allowing the infant to have "tummy time" when awake and supervised, which not only helps prevent flat spots but also helps strengthen the head, neck and shoulder muscles.
- Changing the direction that the baby lies in the crib every week, encouraging him or her reposition the head and avoid resting in the same spot all the time.
- Moving the crib to a different location in the room so that the infant must look in different directions to see the door or window.
- Avoiding placing the infant in car seats, carriers and bouncers for long periods of time while he or she is awake.