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Flat head syndrome associated with developmental delays

New study shows that babies with flat head syndrome are at higher risk of developmental delays.

By
Amy Wallace
Researchers have found a link between flat head syndrome and an increased risk of developmental delays in babies. Photo by Ben_Kerckx/PixaBay
Researchers have found a link between flat head syndrome and an increased risk of developmental delays in babies. Photo by Ben_Kerckx/PixaBay

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Researchers have linked flat head syndrome to an increased risk of developing motor, language and cognitive delays.

Flat head syndrome, or positional plagiocephaly, occurs when a baby lays their head on the same side or spot consistently, and develops a flat spot. Flat head syndrome affects one in five babies and the number of incidences rose after Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, guidelines recommended babies sleep on their backs in 1992.

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Researchers from The George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney, Australia, analysed 19 papers and found that motor skill, language and cognitive delays were found in infants starting at six months old and lasted up to 3 years old.

"Our study shows that positional plagiocephaly (or flat head) is associated with an increased risk of developmental delays, in particular motor skills," Associate Professor Alexandra Martiniuk, lead author of the study, said in a press release. "It is essential doctors, nurses and midwives monitor infants with flat head to ensure they receive appropriate assessment, early intervention and follow-up for developmental delays."

The study showed that the most common delays were in motor skills such as sitting up and crawling.

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"If you do notice your child has flat head talk to your GP to see if any further treatment is needed," Martiniuk said. "Parents should also make sure they provide tummy time whilst their child is awake and watched. Most delays will likely resolve over time."

The study was published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

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