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Physical Therapy Advice - Proper Positioning

In our last post, we discussed Physical Therapy advice for parents and talked on the importance of positioning your child correctly to avoid problems.  Here is more information on that topic and how to avoid plagiocephaly.

With the miracle of a baby’s birth, there is an overwhelming sense to provide care and nurturing in the best way possible.  Parents know the importance of the basics… health, safety and love.  But the new infant is also dependent on us for positioning and movement.  Too much time in one position can actually change a baby’s head shape – a condition know as plagiocephaly.

The Check List

As a physical therapist, the increased incidence of plagiocephaly facilitates the need to provide help for families – both prevention and early intervention.  Following is a quick check list for parents:

  1. Supervised TUMMY TIME during awake hours (www.starbandkids.com).
  2. Change positions frequently.
  3. Play with baby to encourage overall development (basic checklists are available to help you know “what’s next”).
  4. Do not overuse infant positioning devices, and alternate frequently.
  5. Watch to see if baby’s head seems to tilt or turn more to one side – this may indicate a condition known as torticollis (i.e. neck muscle tightness).

Potential Next Steps

Repositioning is a first line of defense for plagiocephaly.  However, if this is not sufficient to address a concern, a Cranial Remolding Orthosis (i.e. helmet) may be an appropriate course of treatment.  At Before and AfterChildren’s Care Rehab Center / Rehabilitation Medical Supply, I experience a unique opportunity to work with infants in this capacity.  As Pascal said, “Symmetry is what we see at a glance,” so each day gives us the privilege to problem-solve, educate and provide options for caring parents and their newest family member.

- Annette Vollan-Kerber, PT, MS, PCS
Children’s Care Physical Therapist

Comments (2)

  1. Physical Therapy Guy wrote:

    I found this article to be interesting because we mostly treat adults at our physical therapy Spokane clinic. But its interesting to read material about the plagiocephaly facilitates

    Posted 28 Jul 2010 at 6:54 am
  2. Plagiocephaly1 wrote:

    Plagiocephaly, or ‘flat head syndrome’ is a condition which has been on the increase since the early nineties and the beginning of the incredibly important back to sleep campaign. The need for babies to sleep on their backs has resulted in plagiocephaly as a side effect which fortunately can be prevented and in extreme cases successfully corrected, most effectively as this article details with a cranial orthose (or helmet) which are becoming increasingly available.

    Posted 25 Jul 2011 at 8:57 am

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"I was overwhelmed with the idea of my baby wearing a cranial remolding helmet to correct a flat spot on his head, which was caused by torticollis. The orthotists at Rehabilitation Medical Supply was so reassuring, and my son actually likes wearing the helmet! From the first day I walked in the door, I felt welcomed and reassured that they would take excellent care of my baby."
– Amanda M., Parent