About Flat Head Syndrome

Understanding Your Child's Head Shape

Every baby is at risk of developing Flat Head Syndrome.

At Tortle we want your baby’s life to have the best and healthiest beginning. As you know, babies are fragile. Their heads are very soft and malleable, and their necks are weak during the first months of life. Like their parents, babies have preferences for how they like to sleep. Because of this, a baby’s head can develop a flat spot due to constant pressure on a specific area.

The Flat-Out Facts

Affects nearly 50% of babies under 3 months in the U.S. today.

Usually starts developing in the first 6 weeks of life.

There has been a 600% increase in FHS since 1992. 

Though less common, babies may be born with FHS from restriction in-utero space.

The Effects of Flat Head Syndrome & Torticollis

While it’s not necessarily dangerous in itself, Flat Head Syndrome can cause an assortment of medical issues down the line, including cognitive delays, motor delays, and visual impairments. Furthermore, “Flat Head Syndrome” can take several forms, including:

Plagiocephaly: a flattening between the back and the side of the baby’s skull.

Brachycephaly: a flattening of the back of the baby’s skull.

Torticollis: meaning, 'twisted neck' in Latin. It refers to unbalanced neck muscles due to the shortening of muscles on one side of the neck, & If left untreated, can require costly treatments down the line.

The potential development of these issues is why it’s extremely vital to prevent Flat Head Syndrome from occurring in the first place, attending to it before or at least as soon as signs begin showing.

Understanding the Effects of Torticollis

I’m sure you can imagine the feeling of a stiff neck after a night of sleeping on it wrong. That’s similar to the feeling for a baby with Torticollis. Thus, babies who have Torticollis don’t want to turn their heads to a different position because of the discomfort that it causes them. 

In order to correct Torticollis, parents almost always need a referral to a Pediatric Physical Therapist to learn how to stretch the baby’s tight neck muscles correctly. Tortle is able to provide  a gentle, passive stretch to the neck muscle under the guidance of a trained Pediatric PT. This helps to alleviate Torticollis once it has developed.

Flat Head Syndrome stems from the time babies started sleeping on their backs. In 1992, the “Back to Sleep” program recommended babies sleep on their backs to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Like our little friend the turtle, babies aren’t meant to spend an excessive amount of time on their backs. However, they now spend the majority of their time, both awake and asleep, on them. The more time babies spend lying on their backs, the more likely they are to develop a flat spot where their heads press against the mattress, car seat, floor, or other flat service.

No Need to Panic

Flat Head Syndrome is preventable & usually very treatable.

Though the thought of your baby being anything other than bright-eyed and healthy is a terrifying one, we’re here to first inform, and then put those worries at ease. Tortle, if used before 6 months, can prevent and/or correct Flat Head Syndrome, providing comfort for babies on the outside and peace of mind for parents on the inside.

Shop Tortle Products