Since the 1992 recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to have infants sleep on their backs, infant mortality from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has declined dramatically. One consequence, however, has been an increase in positional plagiocephaly, or flat spots on infants’ heads. A study in the August 2013 Pediatrics, published online July 8, estimates the incidence of positional plagiocephaly using a large sample of children visiting four community health centers in Calgary, Alberta. The study, “The Incidence of Positional Plagiocephaly: A Cohort Study
,” found 46.6 percent of 440 infants from 7 to 12 weeks of age had positional plagiocephaly. Of all infants with plagiocephaly, 63.2 percent had flattening on the right side, and 78.3 percent had a mild form of the condition. According to the study authors, the high incidence of positional plagiocephaly indicates that parent education about how to prevent the condition should begin before the 2-month well-child visit. Study authors suggest future research should examine the incidence of plagiocephaly in older infants to gain an understanding about changes in incidence and prevalence over time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.