[Flat Head Syndrome]Does the child have a flat head when sleeping on the side for a long time?Understanding the Causes and Treatment of Flat Head Syndrome Tailor-made Corrective Helmet Helps Improvement- Ming Pao Health Network

The skull of a newborn is not fully developed. Once sleeping in bed for a long time and the head is continuously squeezed by external force, it is easy to cause different degrees of flattening at the back or side of the skull, which makes parents worry about whether the child’s head will be deformed and affect development. . What exactly is flat head syndrome? How effective is wearing a corrective helmet?

What is Flat Head Syndrome?Continued compression flattened or asymmetrical skull

Leung Wing-kin, a prosthetist and orthotist at the Sanatorium and Hospital, said that flat head syndrome is an abnormality in the shape of the skull, such as flatness or asymmetry. In addition to affecting the appearance, it may also affect the visual, auditory and vestibular development of young children. There are various causes of flat head syndrome, such as insufficient space in the mother’s belly for premature babies or twins, and frequent sleeping on the side after birth, which can also affect the shape of the head.

Under what circumstances should I pay attention to whether the baby has flat head syndrome? Liang Yongjian explained that there are two criteria for measurement. The first is whether the head is symmetrical from left to right. If there is a “side head” or “oblique head”, the flat head does not occur directly behind the head, but leans to one side. Looking at the head from the front, it looks like A parallelogram is the same. The second is the “proportion” of the length and width of the head. From the top of the head, the normal “head width” should be about 80% to 85% of the length of the “head length”, but if there is a flat head, such as flat back, it will be By shortening the length of the “head length”, the ratio of “head length” and “head width” is reduced to almost 1 to 1. If the above two situations occur, parents should pay special attention.

What is the cause of flat head syndrome? It can be that the premature baby or the twin has insufficient space in the mother's belly, often sleeping on the side after birth, etc. will affect the shape of the head, and the child's 4 to 6 months old is the golden time for treatment.  (file picture)
What is the cause of flat head syndrome? It can be that the premature baby or the twin has insufficient space in the mother’s belly, often sleeping on the side after birth, etc. will affect the shape of the head, and the child’s 4 to 6 months old is the golden time for treatment. (file picture)

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Severely affect the appearance or affect the development of the brain, hearing and vision

Liang Yongjian pointed out that a slight flat head condition may lead to flattening of one side of the skull, asymmetrical ears or eyes, protruding forehead, large and thin faces, etc., which affect the appearance. In severe cases, even the jawbone of the oral cavity will be offset, which may affect the development of the brain, or even affect the development of hearing and vision, causing the children to learn slowly, and the impact will be far-reaching. Therefore, if parents find that the child’s head is flat and asymmetrical. If the situation occurs, you should receive an examination as soon as possible and receive appropriate treatment.

Wearing orthodontic helmet 4 months old golden treatment period

The treatment period for flat head syndrome is generally from 4 months to 18 months old. It is recommended to tailor a correction helmet for the patient, covering the hair from the top of the eyebrows to the front of the ears, as well as the forehead and the back pillow. The back of the ear and the face are exposed. Liang Yongjian said that in addition to daily cleaning, it is best for patients to wear an orthopedic helmet 24 hours a day. Since the helmet will be made of lighter-weight materials, it will not be too heavy and will not affect the children’s daily life and movements such as raising their heads.

The role of the helmet is to correct the development of the child’s skull in the correct direction without being squeezed, but it is not recommended for newborn babies less than 4 months old to wear it, because their skull and neck bones have not developed enough to support them. Liang Yongjian suggested that parents can hold more newborn babies, or let them lie down and play more (Tummy Time) to avoid frequent pressure on the head. Once the flat head occurs, it will make it more difficult for the head to turn left and right, and children will get used to it. Lying on one side only makes the situation worse.

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Early treatment is better

Children 4 to 6 months old is the prime time for treatment of flat head syndrome. Most of the cases receiving treatment during this period have obvious improvement in head shape after 2 to 3 months after wearing the orthopedic helmet. It is not until the age of 1 month to seek medical treatment and receive treatment. The skull has gradually developed and the space for correction is reduced. Therefore, the required treatment time will be longer. Children may need to wear an orthopedic helmet for about a year. The treatment effect may not be as ideal.

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