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 » How to massage a new baby How to stimulate your baby 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 Exclusive: corporal punishment is rife in Mpumalanga schools More: ChildNews advertisement Get a quote Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare 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... Other news Diet and nutrition The state of hunger in South Africa Medical Survivor launches global cancer-fighting platform Lifestyle Banning lion hunting may not be the answer Medical DNA repair mistakes predispose people to cancer Fitness Heidi Klum and Matthew McConaughey's trainer coming to SA Fitness Exercises that bring out the best in your body shape From our sponsors Dehydration at a glance What could happen in the next 37 seconds? Fifty and fabulous! There’s something newly cool about turning 50 World Thrombosis Day 2015 Live healthier Make a change and get moving! » The dangers of blood clots Fit people live longer Exercise is key to health in old age How you can get moving Fee like a useless lump of laziness just laying on the couch? Fear not, there's hope for you! Here's how you can get active. Up for grabs! » To vape or not to vape? Twisp's new range of e-cigs Discover your Twisp Win one of the 3 new devices from Twisp! Now you can stand a chance of winning one of the 3 new devices, as well as flavours and accessories worth R2000 each!