Repositioning techniques

Flat head syndrome is most commonly caused by continuous pressure on one area of a baby's head.

This pressure is normally applied by a combination of a baby’s mattress, car seat and buggy while lying down. If your child is showing signs of a misshapen head within the first 4 months after birth then immediate attempts should be made to reposition your child's head before helmet therapy is considered.

The first thing to make absolutely clear is that babies should always be positioned lying on their backs. Doing this has reduced Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) significantly over the last 30 years.

If a baby has been diagnosed which flat head syndrome it is then important to figure out which part of the skull is flatter and why this might be the case. The most common reasons are:

  • A child may simply prefer to lie in one direction as the head falls most easily in a particular direction.
  • The parent may place their baby a certain way to face toys or lights in the bedroom.
  • The child may suck there thumb so prefer to lie a certain way.

What can a parent do to help

As a child does not have the muscle strength to reposition their own head it is important that parents manipulate the sleeping pattern by gently moving the child's head onto the non flat spots where possible.

Decreasing the amount of time your child spends lying down when not sleeping can also help reduce any mis shaping of the head. Often children are sat in car seats and buggies for long period and this coupled with their sleeping position can influence a baby's skull shape.

Allow your baby to have some supervised tummy time where they can play and lift their heads away from the ground. Pick your baby up against your chest, lie them supported by there stomach on your lap. The more time babies spend without pressure on the skull, the better the chance of stopping the flat head syndrome getting worse and allowing natural correction to occur.

If you think your child has flat head syndrome or you are unsure please do not hesitate to contact Orthotics UK. We can offer you a free assessment plus free advice on positioning where required. We will normally carry out a visual assessment plus scans and measurements if required to establish if your child has a form of flat head syndrome and what the next step should be.

To get in touch or arrange an appointment, you can call us at 0330 088 3949 or email

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