New parents are often surprised by how just how quickly their infants grow. That growth is taking place throughout their bodies, including their skulls. Your newborn’s skull is made of soft plates that have spaces between them. As baby ages over the first year, those plates grow and gradually harden and come together. The first six to eight months of your baby’s life is an especially important time to keep an eye on the shape of their skull. As you watch baby grow, be mindful of the following signs and symptoms.
Flat Spots On Side of Skull or An Uneven Appearance
If baby spends too long in the same position, the skull’s soft plates can develop a flat spot on one side, making it look uneven. This can also sometimes occur prior to birth due to pressure in the womb. This condition, which is referred to as plagiocephaly, is not dangerous to baby’s brain, but it is something that is best addressed when the skull has yet to fully harden.
Flat Spots On Back of Skull
Brachycephaly is similar to plagiocephaly, except it is the back of the head that becomes flattened. In some cases, this can cause the head to widen and the forehead to bulge out.
Troubles Turning the Head
If baby is experiencing tightness in their neck muscles, it can prevent the head from turning in a particular way, which can place more pressure on one side of their head.
What to Do If You See Signs or Symptoms
If you see any of these signs or symptoms, speak to your doctor about your concerns. They will examine your baby’s head and make suggestions about things you can do. This could include things you can do yourself, like tummy time exercises and alternating their position more frequently, as well as outside assistance, such as physiotherapy to help loosen and strengthen tight muscles. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a cranial remolding helmet.
PBO Group’s Niagara, Kawartha, and Barrie clinics offer cranial remolding helmets. Our Certified Orthotists work closely with area family doctors and pediatricians to create custom cranial remolding helmets to address skull flat spots or asymmetries in infants. Using a 3D scanner they carefully measure and capture detailed statistics about baby’s head and use that information to craft a custom helmet that is a true reflection of your child’s unique needs and personality. Our 3D-printed devices are made with a moisture-wicking liner to keep baby’s head more comfortable.
Important COVID-19 Considerations
The timeframe for addressing skull issues in infants is limited. If you’re concerned about addressing potential concerns with your infant’s head as soon as possible, but not sure how to safely go about doing so during COVID-19 physical distancing, here is what we recommend:
- Ask if your family doctor or pediatrician is willing to do a consult by phone or video.
- If not, ask for their advice on how to safely go about having your child’s skull assessed at this time.
- If they are willing to conduct an assessment and they determine that a cranial remolding helmet is required, they can download the appropriate clinic’s pediatric referral form here.