Home > Parenting > Child > News 08 July 2013 Skull deformations in Canadian babies Close to half of two-month-old babies have a flat spot on the back of their heads, according to a new Canadian study that suggests changes in parents' habits may be a cause. 0 iStock Related Flat head syndrome in babies temporary Our baby has a flat head Baby's head injury could be abuse ASK The Paediatrician » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Quiz Are you ready for a baby? » Subscribe Parenting newsletter » 10 interesting Down syndrome facts Autistic savant 'reads minds' Close to half of two-month-old have a flat spot on the back of their heads, according to a new Canadian study that suggests changes in parents' habits may be a cause.Although not thought to be medically dangerous, the flattened head shape can become permanent, researchers said – which can have psychological implications for kids as they grow up. "This is super common," said Dr Lisa Stellwagen, a neonatologist from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who has studied what's known as plagiocephaly."With the Back To Sleep (campaign) and the overuse of car seats, and people not holding their babies like they used to, we've sort of rediscovered this problem with infants' head shapes," Stellwagen, who wasn't involved in the new study, told Reuters Health. Paediatricians in the early 1990s began telling parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs, in an effort to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also known as crib death. That campaign was "enormously successful," Stellwagen said – and the new findings do not mean parents should stop following that advice. But there are steps they can take – such as holding their baby as often as possible and having "tummy time" when the baby is awake and supervised – to limit skull deformations, she added.Visible head deformationFor their study, Aliyah Mawji from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, and her colleagues examined the heads of 440 healthy infants seen for their two-month well-child visit at one of four clinics. They found that 205 babies, or about 47%, had some sort of head deformation visible to the naked eye. More than three-quarters of those were mild, the researchers wrote on Monday in Pediatrics. Prior studies suggested that anywhere from 3% to 61% of babies have a flat spot on their head, Mawji and her colleagues noted. Some research has tied plagiocephaly to delayed crawling or rolling over, but babies tend to catch up by 18 months, Mawji said – so it's the potential for being bullied as a child that's more of a concern. She said the deformation can be corrected with a helmet – but those typically cost $1000 to $3000, so they should only be a "last resort".For young babies, treatment for a flat spot looks a lot like prevention, researchers said."You want to vary the side of the head that you're putting your infant to sleep on," Mawji told Reuters Health. "If their head automatically turns to the right... what you need to do the next night is turn their head to the left." Like Stellwagen, Mawji recommended parents keep their baby out of a car seat when they're not driving. She also said they should alternate the hand they hold the baby in while feeding. Parents might not notice a small head deformation because they get used to how their baby looks, Stellwagen said, so it's important for doctors to take a close look at the skull at early well-child visits. More in Parenting Pregnancy may boost stroke risk in younger women More: ChildNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.