Flat Head Syndrom

Updated on January 31, 2007
A.J. asks from Bethel, MN
17 answers

My Son has what they call a Flat Head Syndrom, it is where the back of the baby's head is flat from laying on their backs to much.. Anyways, we noticed it at his 6 month well baby check up. The doctor told me everything that I could do to help change it, she said to keep him off of his head while he is awake, and also to have him sleep on his tummy or his side. Here is the thing. Brandon does not like to be on his side and when we put him to bed on his side he would wiggle and do what ever it took to get on his back. He does not like being on his tummy and everything that we have done to try to get him to like it has failed. During the day Brandon is up and off of his head expect for naps of course, so we have been doing everything that we could to help this..

I brought him in to see the doctor today to check on the flat spot in the back. She said that it looks like it has not changed much, and she said that his left year looks good and is in the right spot, but his right ear is still a little forward. She said that his forehead is a little flat too, other wise she said that nothing looks like it has changed from his 6 month Well Baby check up. But she wrote me a referal to see a doctor at Children's to have his head checked to see if he will needs a helmet for his head..

I am wondering if anyone else here had this same thing with their baby and what happened? How did your child react to the helmet and what do they do to find out if your child needs one?

Thank you for your responces.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My oldest son had this as well (along with torticollis). He had to take PT at Gillette for awhile, and they were great. We decided NOT to have him get a helmet, and I regret it. He definitely has a flat spot on his head (I'm worried if he ever loses his hair when he's grown up) and his ears are in different positions, which will be difficult if he ever needs glasses. I just wish we would have done it. HTH!



answers from Minneapolis on

I had twin girls July of 2005, and because they were big for their ages and Abbey was a passive baby - just loved to lay on her back and swat at toys. She ended up having a flat head. We did the Cranio Cap - it was at Gillette hospital (they fit it to the child's head, unlike children's where they make one and try to fit it to the child's head). She didn't mind having the cap on - we called it her helmet. She wore it all of the time and within 2 1/2 months we didn't have to do it anymore, because her head was back to being round - and well my twins are identical and it was easy for people to tell them apart, now they can't. It is amazing just in the first couple of weeks how much the head shape changes. But if you do it you need to do it right away. If you have any other questions - or want to see my adorable Abbey in her "helmet" just email me and I will answer anything you want to know. Hopefully this helped you out.


More Answers


answers from Janesville-Beloit on

A friend of mine had the same thing happen to her son. He wore a helmet for about a year. He loved it! She and her hubby made a big deal out of it, so he thought he was big stuff with it on, not that there was a problem. I worked great!



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi- most kids adjust to the helmet very quickly, and it is not any problem at all. The kids don't care, it's usually the adults that have the problem with it. It is very important that you use it however, because not only can it keep your child's ears in the right place, but it can prevent damage to your child's jaw, which could cause much pain later in life. Most kids wear it less than a year, many less than six months if the parents are consistent with it's use. Talk to the doctor at Children's. They will assure you that it won't cause any problem for Brandon. If his head is not shaped correctly, and it is making his features assymetrical, they probably will recommend the helmet. If you have not had success keeping him off his back, the helmet may be the only solution. Good luck. It really is not a big deal, and they are becoming increasingly more common!



answers from Minneapolis on

I see that you have had lots of responses, but I thought I would also add our experience. When my son was 4 months old my ped talked about torticolus and plagiocephaly. We immediately started physical therapy at Capable Kids in Chaska (they are fantastic) and then saw Dr. Wood at Gillette. Dr. Wood, by the way is known nationwide as one of the best pediatric surgeons in the country, I think he also helped in the development of the cranio cap.

My son was fitted for his helmet the very same day as our initial meeting with Dr. Wood, and within a few days his helmet was ready. My son adjusted to the helmet very quickly and wore it 23 hours a day for 3.5 months....we would have had him wear it longer but he grew out of it that fast. He just turned 2 in December and his head looks pretty good...not perfectly round, but better that what it was. He also had 1 ear pushed forward a little and that is better also (not perfect....no one else ever notices, but my husband and I do).

Another note: Our insurance company ended up paying for it, but keep with it. They denied the claim several times before giving in. I would suggest going thru the insurance nightmare before getting fitted for the helmet. The reason our son grew out of it so fast was because we had to wait 1 month after the fitting to actually get the helmet......Gillette recommended getting a definite yes/no from the insurance company before actually using it.

Hope that helps and good luck!!!!


answers from Minneapolis on

My 2 year old Daughter had, has Tortecolis, (I am sure I am spelling the wrong.) That is where there is a kink in her neck and she has trouble turning that one way. We saw a physical therapist for that. Not sure if that has been found in your child. She has some flatening on one side, we were going to get a helmet, but decided against it. I just could not put her through wearing it for 23 hours a day! It would have been through the summer. Our doctor said that it has not been proven how much the helmet actually works. It takes care of itself somewhat. Because she is a girl and has a head full of curly hair, that helped me with my decision. And also, it was not that bad, it did not affect the ears alignment. A boy on the other hand, I may have done it. It is funny, I look at pictures of her from birtha dn she is always facing that one way, if I only knew then! With the whole "Back to Sleep" campaign, I figure a lot of kids will have this, so I am sure you will find others! Good luck with your decision. Any questions email me!



answers from Appleton on



answers from Minneapolis on

My oldest had a bad case of torticollis where he would only turn his head one way. Our doctor was very laid back about it, told us to just turn his head whe nhe was sleeping. That worked, and of course keeping him on his tummy or side. Also limit time in the carseat, bouncy, and swing because these all also put pressure on his head. When he's sleeping, turn his head to face one way, and for the next nap, turn it the other way. At night, turn his head when he falls asleep, and then turn it when you go to bed the other way. Of course he'll move around, but it will help.

Also, if you are bottle feeding, make sure you feed him from different 'sides'. Don't always hold him in the same arm, switch off so he gets used to turning his head both ways and using those muscles in both sides of his face. because believe it or not it does matter, if he only eats one way then the muscles on that side of his head, face, and neck will be much stronger and he'll favor that side.

Of course if you are breastfeeding you don't need to worry about taht since breastfed babies get that different side at each feeding.

ANYWAY, my oldest had a ridiculously flat head, so bad in fact his face was disproportioned. But after working with him and a little at home pt, turning his head and kepeing him off his back while awake, withing a couple months it was much better, and now at 4 1/2 his head is normal, nice shape, no sign of the flatness.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hello A.,
My son also had this problem (called Plagiocephaly) along with torticollis (he always wanted to look to the left). We noticed a flat spot around 4 months of age and mentioned it to his doctor who told us it would work itself out and to just keep him off of his back. We did that and it didn't work. Around 7 months he got a helmet that he wore for 11 weeks and it worked great. Having a helmet didn't even phase him. I know there will be a lot of responses to this question (a lot of them uneducated unfortunately) but in the end you have to do what feels right for you and your son. Good luck with whatever you choose to do. There is a great website with lots of info if you need more on the subject. It's www.cappskids.org. www.Orthomerica.com is another website with some info on the helmets themselves.



answers from La Crosse on

Hi A.-

I didn't have this problem, but a friend of mine did with her son. He wore a helmet 23 hours out of every day for about 6 months. Now he's totally fine. It was really hard for my friend in the beginning. Everything worked out well in the end. Her son is now 13 months old and doing wonderfully.

Good luck with everything!




answers from Minneapolis on

Hi A.,

My son also has an "mis-shaped" head from being so cramped in utero, and although we haven't been to the appointment yet, we were referred to Gillette and will be seen on 2/6/07 for it. The boys' pediatrician said that they don't notice the helmet and that it will bother us more than them.

I know another mom who's daughter had to wear a helmet for a few months, and though I don't know how her daughter handled it, I know that the daughter's head looks completely normal now, thanks to the helmet (I saw her once before the helmet, then again after treatment).

I can let you know how my son's apoointment goes, if you haven't had yours by then. I'm sorry I couldn't be much help, but wanted you to know that there are Mom's going through the same thing right now!




answers from Milwaukee on

First off I have twins, same thing happened at about the same age. they sat in car seats a lot and loved it. Having 2 well, you do what makes them happy, plus I had a 4 year old who thought we were having them to be mean. LOL. They sent me to childrens, we then went to physical therapy, they helped build head strenth, we did some normal everyday excerses at home and that was that. Once he gets older and grows hair it won;t be as noticible and have you ever felt your own head its not perfectly shaped. Anywho, they are five and no their heads aren't perfect but a helmet don't waste your money or time.



answers from Eau Claire on

I have an 7mo son that has that to and the dr is not worried about it but he did say I could get a helmet but don't really need it. My 2yr old had that to and he got hair and looks great now. This is a pic of tiwns from pregnancyweekly. Well the pic didn't want to work for me.


answers from Minneapolis on

My aunts son had to have a helmet. I think it was a lot harder for her than him. As far as my own experience my daughter came close to needing one. She seemd to always want lay on the right side of her head. Her pediatrician showed me what the helmet looked like. It did not seem all that bad, though as a mother I did shed a few tears when I got home because I was worried for my baby. My aunts son only had to wear his for a couple of hours a day. I can email her and aske her more wuestions about it.



answers from Madison on

I know you have a lot of feed back already but I just wanted to say my cousin just went through the same thing with her son. He wore the helmet for 23 hours a day, I'm not exactly sure how many months he wore it for. It was hard for her in the beginning and making the desision but it worked out great. He didn't seem to mind the helmet at all and it helped with his flat spot. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi A.!
I think you will get a ton of responses to your question. I asked the same question back in September and got an amazing amount of emails. My daughter just got out of her helmet this week! She also had a very flat head and tortacalis which is a muscle in the neck that is shorter than the other side. We have been going to PT every other week for it. The helmet thing is no big deal. Our daughter got into hers at 5 1/2 months and like I said just got done with it. Her head looks great and I would recomend it to anyone. We saw Dwight at Childrens west and I love him. So down to earth and easy to talk to. Maia got really used to waring it and had no problems what so ever. If you have any questions or want to see pictures of what it looks like feel free to email me at
[email protected]____.com good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I unfortunatley don't have any experience with this syndrom but...

The first thing that came to my mind when I read your request was the Bumbo seat. www.bumboseat.com you can look at this online and I know they sell them at babies r us and target. The seat is made of molded soft density foam. They are awesome!! A child can use this seat as soon as they are able to hold their head up on their own. It might be a way for you to keep your son from laying on his head while he is awake.

Next question: Coping with Daugher Who Might Need Helmet