Skip to main content

Positional Plagiocephaly

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to alert (a) general practitioners, (b) health visitors and (c) mothers to (i) the symptoms of positional plagiocephaly in newborn infants and (ii) the means by which the severity of the condition may be reduced. (89432)

General practitioners and health visitors undertake a series of checks on health and development in children, known as the child health development programme, which is informed by professional guidelines, principally “Health for all children”. This includes guidance on detecting abnormalities in skull development, which may include positional plagiocephaly caused by allowing pressure to one part of a baby's skull over a period of time, typically during sleep and rest periods. This can cause a temporary flattening of a baby's head on the side the head rests upon which is commonly remedied by enabling babies to experience a range of positions during waking hours. The Department's guidance to parents on the first five years of their child's life “Birth to five”, and on reducing the risk of cot death, advocates babies being encouraged to experience a range of different positions and to play on their front when awake.