Promotion of awareness is essential in effectively combating any medical condition and plagiocephaly is no exception to this rule.
Positional plagiocephly is a somewhat lesser known condition that has been steadily increasing in incidence within the newborn population over the previous two decades. Increasing your knowledge on this condition could make all the difference to your babys’ well being – and to your friends when you pass on these tips.
What is Plagiocephaly?
Plagiocephaly is the deformation of a newborns skull that is produced by pressure being place on one area of the head for long durations of time in a regular basis. While we can get away with sleeping in any position be desire as adults without issue, infants are vulnerable to deformations of the skull due to the bone structure being incomplete.
Newborns heads are still malleable due to the membranous fontanelles that span the space of the yet-to-close fissures between he bones that made up the skull. The purpose of babies being born without a fully formed skull is crucial in making vaginal childbirth possible in humans.
Positional plagiocephaly is most commonly seen within the first 3 months of an infants life where the skull is most vulnerable to shape change due to extrinsic forces. Infants will also spend a high majority of their time during these first 3 months lying on their backs, as they are yet to develop to ability to roll over by themselves.
Why is Plagiocephaly Becoming More Common?
The reasoning behind the rapidly increasing incidence of plagiocephly in recent decades comes down to the recommendations coming from high up places such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), telling us that by placing our infants to sleep on their backs we will be significantly reducing their risk of falling victim to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
For examples, in February 1999, a statement was officially release in Canada to notify the public of the official change of recommendation – infants should now be placed to sleep on their back to prevent SIDS. In subsequent years there have been concerns raised regarding the increase in positional plagiocephly across Canada as a consequence of this advice.
Similar trends have been seen world-wide, especially following successful campaigns such as “Back to Sleep”. Where in the the past plagiocephaly was seen in an estimated 1 in 100 infants (0.3% of the population), over the last 10-15 years many centres have reported dramatic changes in these statistics with rates as high as 29.5% being seen.
How to Prevent Plagiocephaly
There is a substantial amount of evidence available to back-up the fact that placing babies to sleep on their backs in effective in reducing the number of deaths seen due to SIDS, therefore it wouldn’t be safe for us to recommend placing your baby to sleep on their tummy. However, supervised tummy time can play a crucial role in plagiocephaly prevention. Your infant may not enjoy tummy time at first, so here are a few brief tips to help you out:
- After each time you change your baby, place them on his or her tummy. Add an extra minute of tummy time each day, this will slowly get your infant used to spending time on their tummy for longer and longer durations of time.
- Parents or caregivers getting down on the floor in front go the infant is an excellent way of providing comfort and interaction during tummy time. It also gives your baby a reason to stay on their tummy so they can look at you.
- Placing a rolled up towel or blanket under the infant’s chest with their arms propped in front of it can give extra support. A hand place underneath the infant’s chin can also be good to assist in supporting the head until neck strength improves.
Other Positional Tips:
- Put the infant at a different end of the crib each time you put them down for a nap. As babies usually like to face out into the room while they sleep, this will help to encourage them to turn their head in a different direction with each nap they take – helping to prevent pressure being placed on one side of the head at all times
- You could also place a colourful crib-safe toy or a mirror on the crib to try and get your baby to look in the desired direction
- Make sure to limit the amount of time that your baby spends sleeping in car seats, swings, bouncy chairs or other infant seats
The Koala Babycare Plagiocephaly Pillow
All the tip above are sure to make a big difference to plagiocephaly prevention and ensuring your baby’s wellbeing. However, while conditioning your baby into tummy time might be a lengthy process, Koala Babycare is able to provide you with a quick and easy solution, making sure that you are doing everything you can for your infant while you teach them how to enjoy time playing on their tummy.
Koala Babycares Plagiocephaly pillow ensures you baby’s sleep quality and safety. The pillow is made from breathable cotton covers and high quality memory foam – moreover, this memory foam is ventilated with breathable holes providing your baby with even more protection from SIDS. The pillow is adaptable and you are able to use it anywhere, from cribs to bouncers – this make it ideal for travel or long days out.
If that wasn’t enough to persuade you, the Koala Babycare Plagiocephaly Pillow also comes with 2 cotton covers and a 2 year warranty, so there really isn’t a disadvantage to making this small investment in your baby’s wellbeing.
Check out the pillow , and let us know what tips work best for you and your baby.