Plagiocephaly

Sometimes babies develop a flatter area either at the back of or on one side of their head. This is called plagiocephaly.

It can develop when your baby:

  • lies in the same position for a long time
  • spends a long time in a car seat or bouncy seat, so make sure you take your baby out regularly

Plagiocephaly usually gets better on its own if your baby's spending less time lying on their back when they're awake.

If you’re worried or want more information, ask your midwife, health visitor or family nurse.

What you can do

You can help your baby's natural head shape to return by getting your baby to spend less time lying on their back when they’re awake.

You can also:

  • support your baby to sit on your knee or try holding them in different positions
  • carry your baby in a sling or front carrier

As soon as they start being able to control their head, you can lie them on their tummy when they’re awake and you are watching them.

Cots

When your baby's in a cot, if they always face to one side you can try:

  • changing where their head's placed each night
  • changing the position of the light in the room to the side they favour less

Always lie them on their back when they’re sleeping though, and never let them sleep on their tummy.


Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.