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Supportive Strategies for Parents of Children with Plagiocephaly

Posted on Jun 13, 2023

Plagiocephaly, a condition characterized by an abnormal head shape in infants, can be a source of concern and worry for parents. Understanding the condition and having access to supportive strategies are vital for navigating this journey. In this blog, we will explore the different aspects of plagiocephaly, including its causes, diagnosis, treatment options, coping mechanisms, promoting development, and raising awareness. By providing parents with knowledge and support, we aim to empower them to effectively address their child’s plagiocephaly.

What is Plagiocephaly 

Plagiocephaly is a condition characterized by an abnormal or asymmetrical head shape in infants. It occurs when the skull bones fuse prematurely or when external forces apply pressure to the baby’s head. The term “plagiocephaly” comes from the Greek words “plagios” (meaning oblique or slanted) and “cephale” (meaning head). The condition can result in the flattening of one side of the head or the back of the head, leading to an uneven appearance. Plagiocephaly can be classified as either positional or craniosynostosis-related, with each type having different causes and treatment approaches. It is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of plagiocephaly.

Recognizing Plagiocephaly: Signs, Symptoms, and Diagnostic Methods

Here are the signs, symptoms, and diagnostic methods associated with plagiocephaly:

Signs and Symptoms:

Asymmetrical Head Shape: The most noticeable sign of plagiocephaly is an irregular head shape. It may appear flattened on one side or have a bulge on the back of the head.

Facial Asymmetry: Plagiocephaly can cause the baby’s face to appear asymmetrical. This can include differences in the eyes, ears, cheeks, or jaw alignment.

Limited Neck Mobility: Infants with plagiocephaly might have restricted neck movement or prefer to look in one direction.

Uneven Hair Growth: Hair growth patterns may appear uneven or concentrated on one side of the head due to the abnormal skull shape.

Developmental Delays: In some cases, plagiocephaly can lead to developmental delays or issues with motor skills or coordination. However, these delays are not always present.


Visual Examination: A healthcare provider can often diagnose plagiocephaly through a physical examination. They will assess the shape of the baby’s head, check for facial asymmetry, and evaluate neck mobility.

Measurements: The healthcare provider may measure the baby’s head to identify any significant differences in head circumference or asymmetry.

Imaging Tests: In some cases, imaging tests like X-rays or CT scans may be recommended to assess the extent of skull asymmetry and determine if there is any fusion of the skull bones. However, these tests are not always necessary and are typically reserved for severe or complex cases.

It is important to note that mild cases of plagiocephaly can often improve naturally as the baby grows and begins to move and reposition their head independently. However, more severe cases may require intervention, such as physical therapy, helmet therapy, or other corrective measures, to encourage proper skull development.

Diverse Approaches to Plagiocephaly Treatment: Repositioning, Therapy, Helmets, and Surgery

Plagiocephaly treatment options include repositioning techniques, physical therapy, helmet therapy, and, in severe cases, surgical intervention. Repositioning involves changing the baby’s head position during sleep and awake times. Physical therapy helps improve neck mobility and muscle strength. Helmet therapy utilizes custom-made helmets to promote symmetrical head shape. Surgery is reserved for severe cases associated with craniosynostosis. Treatment choice depends on the severity and individual needs of the child.

Coping with Plagiocephaly as a Parent

Coping with your child’s plagiocephaly as a parent can be challenging, but there are strategies to help. Stay informed about the condition, seek support from healthcare professionals and other parents facing similar experiences. Implement recommended treatment options and follow up with regular appointments. Be patient, provide comfort and reassurance to your child, and focus on their overall well-being while monitoring their progress.

Promoting Development and Bonding

Parents play a crucial role in fostering their child’s healthy development and strengthening the parent-child bond despite the challenges posed by plagiocephaly. While coping with your child’s plagiocephaly, focus on promoting their overall development and bonding. Engage in activities that encourage tummy time, facilitate motor skills, and enhance sensory experiences. Maintain close physical contact through cuddling and babywearing. Seek professional guidance and support to ensure optimal development and a strong parent-child bond.

Raising Awareness and Educating Others

Raising awareness about plagiocephaly is essential for dispelling misconceptions and reducing stigma. We will encourage parents to become advocates by sharing their experiences and educating family members, friends, and caregivers about the condition. By fostering understanding and empathy, we can create a supportive environment for children with plagiocephaly and their families.


By providing comprehensive information, support, and strategies, NJ Craniofacial Center aims to empower parents of children with plagiocephaly. Understanding the condition, accessing appropriate treatment options, and utilizing coping mechanisms can help parents navigate this journey with confidence and resilience. Together, we can raise awareness, promote acceptance, and provide a supportive community for families affected by plagiocephaly.


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