SIDS & Flat Heads - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

SIDS & Flat Heads

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5-month-old Aiden McNeill is playing on his tummy a lot these days. His parents limit the time he spends on his back because he's developed a flat spot on his head.

"I started to notice it after about a month," says dad Charlie.

Mother Amanda adds, "It definitely was a little nerve wracking at first."

Now a new study in the journal Pediatrics shows more babies are ending up with flat spots. The study looked at 440 infants in Canada and found nearly half of two month olds had the condition.

"The increased incidence in flat head syndrome is due to back to sleep, which is a campaign to get babies to sleep of their backs. That is because sleeping on your back reduces the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome," says Dr. Suzanne Kaseta.

A baby's skull is soft and growing so the pressure of laying on the head can flatten it. Most babies in the study had just mild flattening. 

There are some things parents can do to prevent flat spots. Limit your babies time in the car seat or swing, so they're not leaning back on their head.

Also, make sure babies get plenty of "tummy time" when they're awake, and when they're sleeping parents can gently intervene.

"When they fall asleep you can turn their head to the other side so there's more pressure on the other side," says Dr. Kaseta.

Aiden's parents made all of these adjustments.

(Adriana) "Did you notice any changes?"

(Amanda) "I have, I've noticed both the left and right side of his head aren't as flat, they're rounding out."

There's still a possibility Aiden will need a helmet to reshape his head if the flatness doesn't continue to improve. But he's rolling over on his own now, so he's already spending less time on his back.

Many cases of flat head can be corrected through physical therapy and repositioning children to take pressure of the head.

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