The intention is good, but the result can be dramatic. On November 3, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wanted to remind parents and caregivers to do not use anti-flat head ears, or other “baby wedges”. These devices – which aim to prevent or correct flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly) can actually be dangerous.
A dangerous sleeping environment
“The FDA is not aware of any demonstrated benefit of using infant head shaping pillows for medical purposes. The use of head shaping pillows can create an unsafe sleeping environment for infants and can contribute to risk of choking and death“, alerts the agency in a press release. It also recalls that it has not approved these pillows”, she indicates in a press release (source 1). And to insist:
The safety and effectiveness of these products have not been established for the prevention or treatment of flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly), or the more serious condition where the bones of a developing infant’s skull come together too early (craniostenosis).
If you use any of these devices, the FDA recommends that you throw it away and above all not bequeath it to other parents. If you are indeed worried that your child has a flat head, contact a health professional who can set up appropriate and safe care. “Using pillows to shape the infant’s head can delay assessment and management from harmless conditions, such as flat head syndrome, or more serious conditions, such as craniosynostosis,” the agency said.
What recommendations to prevent flat head syndrome?
“Be aware that in most cases, flat head syndrome will disappear by itself as the infant grows,it is not painful and that he does not cause any developmental problems“, specifies the FDA. However, several recommendations make it possible to prevent this syndrome, as recalled by the High Authority for Health (source 2).
When your baby sleeps:
- lay him on his backin a sleeping bag;
- don’t leave anything in his bed (no comforters or toys);
- do not use bed reducers, headrests and baby wedges;
- let him look in all directionswithout bumper.
When your baby is awake:
- vary their positions during ground game activities and arrange his toys around him to encourage him to look sideways;
- when changing it, gradually accustom him to standing on his stomach : he will muscle his neck and back;
- take him often in your arms ;
- with each bottle or feeding, consider switching arms : your baby will turn his head to catch your eye;
- limit the time spent in childcare equipment as much as possible (deckchair, baby-relax, cosy, etc.) and reserve the seat shells for transport by car.
Again, if you find your child has a flat head, make an appointment with your doctor. Only he can advise you!
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