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A study found a way to prevent skull pressure affecting babies which can cause flat spots

Photo: Preventing skull pressure in babies
Parents need to be given more advice to prevent skull pressure affecting babies which can cause flat spots, a Melbourne researcher says.

Advice to new parents on positioning babies is not good enough to prevent pressure on the skull which can cause facial distortion, research shows.

Plagiocephal- or flat-headedness is a condition most common in babies with less developed head control, a University of Melbourne study has found.

Physiotherapist Liz Williams said on Tuesday current advice for parents to give babies plenty of tummy time and alternate on which side their heads rest, does not go far enough.

"Many new parents follow advice to position their resting baby with their head on one side, then on the other side, when we need to encourage babies to be active, to move themselves by engaging with them from birth," PhD candidate Ms Williams said.
Pressure on a baby's skull in severe cases can cause distorted facial features and a bulging forehead. Some babies wear special helmets to remedy the problem.

Research at the Royal Children's Hospital's plagiocephaly clinic found 54 per cent of children with plagiocephaly were seven-months-old but failed the pull-to-sit development guidelines for head control.

"It is reasonable to expect infants to control their heads, especially to the midline and side to side ... by two to three months and to maintain their head against gravity by themselves when pulled up to a sitting position by four to five months," Ms Williams said.

ADVICE TO PARENTS

* Sleep baby on his/her back from birth, not on the tummy or side

* Even a newborn can move her/his head to each side by following a parent's eyes or voice

* Babies need both tummy and face time from birth

* Babies' heads are heavy and need support.

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