The first-time mother said she noticed the sides of her son’s head growing disproportionally and she immediately sought advice from her pediatrician on the flattened areas of her son’s skull.
After doctors observed and X-rayed Cooper Rowe's head for two months, the Muskegon resident learned that her then-4-month-old son had plagiocephaly. The abnormality in head shape is most commonly known as a flattened spot.
Rowe, now 9 months old, is among a growing number of children with these spots on their head. USA Today reported that a recent sample study of 440 healthy infants found that 47 percent of them between 7 and 12 weeks old have plagiocephaly.
Sines, 21, said she was relieved to know her son’s problem isn’t more serious or requires surgery.
“I was nervous, but glad the problem was fixable,” she said.
Dr. Jim Postema, a family practice physician with the North Ottawa Community Health System, said infants sleeping on their back have decreased sudden infant death syndrome, but this action has also led to an increase in plagiocephaly. He said other possible causes could be limited neck motion or from looking at a specific area in the room for too long.
“Babies usually spend much of their time looking toward a source of light in a room while the baby is laying on their back,” Postema said. “If the crib is kept in the same location, and the baby is placed in the same position in relationship to the light source, the baby's head will tend to be flattened posteriorly.”
Postema recommends that parents alternate their infant's head position as they sleep.
Postema said plagiocephaly is first noticed when the child is 2 or 3 months old.
In most cases, it can be treated successfully if found before the child’s first birthday, Postema said. If left untreated, it could result in skull deformities.
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