TUMMY TIME HELPS TO PREVENT FLAT HEAD SYNDROME
Tummy time is an important part of a baby’s daily routine. By placing your baby on his or her stomach (while awake and supervised) you help them to develop the neck, back, and shoulder muscles needed to meet key developmental milestones. It also helps to prevent conditions such as twisted neck (positional torticollis) and flat head syndrome (positional plagiocephaly).
What is Flat Head Syndrome?
Plagiocephaly, also known as “flat head syndrome,” is caused by prolonged pressure on the baby’s growing skull, thereby flattening the back of the head. It affects nearly one in two infants today (47%), with one in every ten babies having it severe enough to require treatment. Following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Back to Sleep campaign in the 1990s, which urged parents to put babies to sleep on their backs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), they have also since recognized a correlation between back-sleeping and plagiocephaly.
Why does it need to be treated?
Plagiocephaly is a common and easily treatable condition (usually with a shape-correcting helmet) but it has been shown to be more than just unsightly. New research from the University of Melbourne, Australia, found that babies who acquire a flat spot on their skull also tend to have less developed head control.
How does Tummy Time help?
Tummy time helps babies gain improved head control, which in turn enables them to not get stuck on one side, reducing prolonged pressure on one spot. Physiotherapist Liz Williams has created a fact sheet for new parents to help their babies to get the most out of tummy time. She hopes the fact sheet, which contains exercises and advice for parents, will help reduce the number of babies being treated for plagiocephaly, and demonstrate the role parents play in helping their babies gain better head control.
The Tummy Time Fact Sheet Advice Includes:
· Sleep baby on their back from birth, not on their tummy or side
· Even newborn babies can move their head to each side by following their parents’ eyes or voice
· From birth babies need both tummy time and face time, which can be on the floor
· Babies heads are heavy and need support
· Tummy time can include when your baby is lying on you