Plagiocephaly, also known as “Flat Head Syndrome”, is quite common in newborns. In the majority of cases, it is due to the fact that babies spend hours each day lying on their backs. As their little head is still so soft and malleable a flat spot tends to develop as a result.
In some cases, flat head syndrome can lead to rather serious consequences on the infant’s cognitive and motor development, therefore, prevention or treatment (if condition is already present) are both crucial.
There are a few simple things you can do to help. One of these is to use Koala Perfect Head Baby Pillow, specifically designed to help prevent and treat flat head syndrome.
The Koala pillow can be used whenever your baby is lying down on their back (in the car seat, crib, or cot) and, if under six months old, is under your careful supervision. The pillow reduces localized pressure on the infant’s head.
Continue reading for more details and important guidelines on flat head syndrome.
What is Flat Head Syndrome (Plagiocephaly)? A guide on prevention.
Prevention is the best cure. Flat Head Syndrome is no exception to this rule.
In order to prevent flat head syndrome, we need to first understand what it is and what it is caused by, so we can take specific measures during the baby’s first few months of life.
Let’s take a step back. Infants are born with a soft malleable skull which is not yet fully formed (hence the famous “soft spots”). This makes their little head more prone to deformities.
More precisely, positional plagiocephaly is a misshapen skull, which tends to flatten out laterally or at the back.
There are several causes; the most common being due to the fact that babies spend hours lying in the same position on their backs with their head turned towards one side.
Most often it’s a straightforward cosmetic problem, which can be easily resolved. However, in more serious cases it can lead to issues with cognitive and motor development, therefore, it’s best to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Below you can find some useful tips on preventing flat head syndrome.
Supine position and flat head syndrome: why it is becoming more and more common
Flat head syndrome in newborns has increased dramatically over recent years, by 48%*.
It has, therefore, become a fairly common syndrome among infants. This increase is linked to the guidelines issued by the WHO for the prevention of SIDS, or cot death syndrome.
One of the WHO recommendations is for babies to lie down on their backs (in a “supine” position).
Lying down in the same position throughout the night, and for most of the day, on a firm support base (mattress, cot, crib…) can cause the infant’s skull to flatten.
WHO guidelines have reduced cot deaths by 60%, so we recommend that you consult and follow them closely.
*Observations on a recent increase in plagiocephaly without synostosis from American Academy of Paediatrics published in July, 1996.
How to prevent and treat Flat Head Syndrome (Plagiocephaly)
There are a few simple measures you can take to help prevent flat head syndrome. Let’s have a look at them one by one:
- While they are awake, keep your baby in their crib or bouncer for as little time as possible. It’s better to hold them in your arms, to allow them to strengthen their back and neck muscles.
- You can use a baby carrier, such as Koala Cuddle Band, to help keep your baby upright as much as possible. This will also mean you are hands-free. Your little one will love being heart-to-heart with their mummy!
- Alternate arms you use to support your baby whilst feeding them. This will prevent their head from flattening on one side.
- Use a nursing pillow, such as Koala Hugs, so your arm doesn’t put pressure on their head.
- Use a little toy to attract their attention so they turn their head from left to right during nappy change time.
- When your baby is under your watchful eye, rest their head on an infant pillow such as Koala Perfect Head. It is specifically designed to support the baby’s head whilst they lie on their back.
- From time to time, change the orientation of the baby’s cot so as to encourage them to turn their head to the other side.
- Encourage Tummy Time. Whilst awake, under adult supervision, place the baby on their stomach and rest their arms and head on a pillow (you can use Koala Hugs). This activity is also useful for strengthening back and neck muscles!
Does a Flat Head Pillow actually work?
A study conducted by a team of doctors in Tokyo and published in the medical-scientific journal Elsevier*, observed 19 infants during the first six months of their lives.
The babies were divided into two groups. The first group, called the Pillow Group, was asked to use a memory foam pillow with a central dent to support the baby’s head. The second group, the No Pillow Group, did not use a pillow.
At 6 months old, the infants who had used a pillow showed no signs of flat head syndrome and their motor and cognitive skills were more developed, unlike the infants in the No Pillow Group.
*Effects of continued use of a positioning pillow (up until six months of age) on cranial deformation and neurodevelopment in preterm infants: A prospective case-control study – Yuu Uchioa, Naoko Shimaa, Kaho Nakamuraa, Tetsuo Ikaic, Osamu Nittab.
A pillow for newborns, yes or no?
Yes! Absolutely, if used correctly!
Koala Perfect Head is made from a subtle layer of high-quality memory foam and covered by a cotton pillowcase.
The thickness of the memory foam varies depending on the area of the pillow, increasing at the sides, and decreasing towards the middle, where the baby’s head rests. This ensures the baby always maintains the correct position, reducing localised pressure on the skull.
Koala Perfect Head can be used in prams, cribs, and pushchairs. This also makes it perfect for outdoor “trips”.
Koala Perfect Head Maxi, which is larger in size, is designed for use in a cot or Next2me co-sleeping crib.
Both pillows should be used under adult supervision up until the infant is 6 months old.
When should you use a pillow for newborns?
Koala Babycare’s pillows can be used right from the start. It is an aid that helps prevent and treat Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome), and you can use it whenever your baby is under careful adult supervision.
As time goes by, it turns into a perfect bedtime pillow, especially the Maxi version that can be used up until the age of 3 years.
Koala pillow for cot use
Koala Perfect Head Maxi is specially designed for use in a cot or a Next2me co-sleeping crib.
It’s 50cm wide – exactly the same as a cot.
The larger sizing means it can be used as a comfortable pillow right up to the age of 3 years.
Please note that up until 6 months of age, it should be used under adult supervision.
Koala pillow for crib use
Koala Perfect Head has been designed to support your baby’s head, reducing pressure on the skull, whilst in a pram, crib, or pushchair.
Please note that up until 6 months of age, it should be used under adult supervision. Once your baby is 6 months old it’s a perfect bedtime pillow.
What about breastfeeding?
Koala Babycare has also thought about feeding time! Mum’s arm can be a little too firm for their little head. If you consider that you spend an average of 5 hours a day feeding your baby, it certainly makes sense to take swift action!
Koala Perfect Head Breastfeeding is a breastfeeding pillow which comes with a handy pouch so you can take it with you wherever you go. Your baby’s head will always have the proper support reducing the risk of flat head syndrome!
Why is Koala Perfect Head pillow unique?
Why does Koala Perfect Head stand out amongst all the other newborn pillows which help combat flat head syndrome? Its five strengths are outlined below.
1. Varied level of memory Foam thickness
The pillow is made from a subtle layer of high quality memory foam. The thickness is greater at the sides and thinner towards the middle, where the infant’s head rests. This ensures that your baby has the best possible support without excessive pressure.
The pillow has also been purposedly designed to be lower around the neck area to prevent the neck from bending forward and obstructing the airways.
Koala Perfect Head has been awarded numerous certifications:
- Certified as an “Ergonomic Product” by the German Institute for Health and Ergonomics (IGR).
- Certified as a Class 1 Medical Device
- Oeko Tex: textiles are free from toxic substances which may harm humans or the environment.
- Hypoallergenic Material: doesn’t contain allergens.
- Best Product Vergleich.org: it has been recognised as the best newborn pillow in comparison to other brands.
3. Three different models, one for every need
There’s a Perfect Head to meet every need! We’ve designed three different pillows so that your baby’s head can have the best possible support wherever it may be.
- Koala Perfect Head is suitable for bouncers, prams, and pushchairs.
- The larger Koala Perfect Head Maxi is ideal for cots and Next2me co-sleeping cribs.
- Koala Perfect Head Breastfeeding supports the infant’s head whilst being breastfed.
4. Two pillowcases included
The Koala Perfect Head comes with a spare pillowcase. This way you’ll always have a clean pillowcase while the other one is in the wash. Keeping in mind how often babies get dirty, the extra one will definitely come in handy.
5. Take it with you wherever you go
The handy carry pouch that comes with Koala Perfect Head allows you to take it with you when you are out and about. The pouch will also help keep it protected from germs and bacteria.
Most paediatricians recommend using Koala Perfect Head pillow as it can be a valuable aid in the prevention and treatment of Plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).
However, remember that, first and foremost, your baby shouldn’t lie down in the same position for long periods of time. You can help by holding them in your arms or in a baby carrier to prevent their head from flattening out.
The information contained on this Site is purely of an informative nature and does not replace any diagnosis or treatment advice received from a doctor. We recommend that you always seek advice from your family doctor and / or specialists.