Babies sometimes develop aflattened head when they're a few months old, usuallyas a result of them spending a lot of time lying on their back.

This is known as "flat head syndrome", and there are two main types:

  • plagiocephaly the head is flattened on one side, causing it to look asymmetrical; the ears may be misaligned and the head looks like a parallelogram when seen from above, and sometimes the forehead and face may bulge a little on the flat side
  • brachycephaly the back of the head becomes flattened, causing the head to widen, and occasionally the forehead bulges out

These problems are quite common, affecting around one in every five babies at some point.

In most cases they aren't a major cause for concern, as they don't have any effect on the brain and the head shape will often improve by itself over time.

Your baby won't experience any pain or other symptoms, or any problems with their general development.

This page covers:


When to get medical advice

What you can do

Helmets, headbands and mattresses

Will my child's head shape return to normal?

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016