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Avoiding Flat Heads

Avoiding Flat Heads

Baby car safety capsules that click in and out of your vehicle sure are safe, but unfortunately they are also leading to a dramatic increase in Plagiocephaly, or “flat-head” syndrome in recent years. Sure, it is much easier to pull the car seat out and leave baby comfortably clicked-in, fast asleep, but is it the wisest thing to do?

Car Seats & Back Sleeping

Babies used to only be placed in car safety seats whilst actually travelling in a vehicle and were also able to sleep any which way they (or their parents) preferred.  Dare I say it? Also on their tummies. However, since some studies have shown a dramatic reduction in SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Wiegendood in Dutch) when babies were placed onto their backs to sleep, today’s babies spend significantly more time on their backs, leading to pressure being placed on the same spot on the back of their soft developing craniums (the occiput).

This combined with the new click-in style car capsules plus baby hammocks etc, the amount of time babies spend on their backs has increased significantly in the past decade.  Ever wondered why you’ve also seen a rise in babies wearing helmets lately?

Indications of Difficulties

Flat head syndrome on its own is usually not a permanent problem if caught early while the skull is still developing. However, too much “capsule time” can lead to other problems. If you think about how much you carry your baby’s car seat around and equate that to a loss of your touch

you can see where there may be developmental issues down the road. When you choose to lug your baby around in a car seat you are depriving them of valuable time that could be spent getting to know their environment or learning to play independently.

How Much “Capsule” Time?

Babies should only be in a capsule whilst travelling.  This means removing your child from the car seat when you arrive, rather than clicking them into a stroller or leaving them in the car seat until feeding or changing time. They should also never be left to sleep in the car seat (unless you are travelling by car of course).

At home, try to limit the amount of time your child is “strapped in” to a seat (swing, bouncy chair, etc.) and promote tummy time so your child can develop their upper body strength and neck muscles. You can also help reduce flat-head syndrome by repositioning their head on occasion when they are sleeping or in a seat so pressure is not placed on the same spot repeatedly.

Many infants also have small neck misalignments as a result of the birthing process itself (especially in vacuum births)  which may mean that babies continually tilt or turn their head to one side. Chiropractor’s can gently realign the vertebrae so that full movement is restored and that nerve pressure is reduced allowing maximum potential for proper growth and healthy development.

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