Why is it important to monitor your baby's position?
The American Academy of Pediatrics' "Back to Sleep" campaign, initiated in 1992, has been successful in reducing the occurrence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – the unexpected and unexplained death of an infant less than 1 year of age. Although lying on their backs is the safest way for babies to sleep, keeping babies on their backs during most of their awake hours can lead to positional plagiocephaly, also known as "flattened head syndrome."
When a baby always lies with his or her head in the same position, or on the same side of the face, the pressure of the head's weight can push the soft bones of the skull against a flat surface – such as the crib or car seat – causing the skull to flatten. Some babies have neck muscles that contract (shorten), causing them to turn their heads to one side when placed on their backs. This condition, called torticollis, also can contribute to the development of flat spots on the head.
Fortunately, by using some simple repositioning techniques, you can help prevent "flattened head syndrome" – and help promote your infant's neuromuscular development.