Since the 1992 recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to have infants sleep on their backs
, infant mortality from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
has declined dramatically. One consequence, however, has been an increase in positional plagiocephaly, or flat spots on infants’ heads
A study in the August 2013 Pediatrics, published online July 8, estimates the incidence of positional plagiocephaly using a large sample of children visiting four community health centers in Calgary, Alberta. The study, “The Incidence of Positional Plagiocephaly: A Cohort Study
,” found 46.6 percent of 440 infants from 7 to 12 weeks of age had positional plagiocephaly. Of all infants with plagiocephaly, 63.2 percent had flattening on the right side, and 78.3 percent had a mild form of the condition. According to the study authors, the high incidence of positional plagiocephaly indicates that parent education about how to prevent the condition should begin before the 2-month well-child visit.
Study authors suggest future research should examine the incidence of plagiocephaly in older infants to gain an understanding about changes in incidence and prevalence over time.