Reduced SIDS Frequency and Flat Head Syndrome Linked

A new study reveals that more infants are being diagnosed with a condition called plagiocephaly or what is often referred to as the flat head syndrome.

Study authors say the increase in the number of cases of plagiocephaly is most likely due to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending infants be placed on their backs to sleep.

This recommendation has reduced the number of SIDS deaths by 40 percent and is considered to be worth the cost of a flat head. The AAP issued the recommendation to place sleeping infants on their backs in 1992.

The rise in the number of infants diagnosed with a flat head began rising shortly following the advisory.

The study reports the number of babies with the flat head syndrome has increased from a mere 3 in every 10,000 births in 1999 to 28.8 per 10,000 births in 2007. This equates to a 21.2 percent increase. Positional plagiocephaly is easily reversed with moderate intervention. Infants in the Dallas, Texas region appeared to have an even higher rate of plagiocephaly, but that is being chalked up to a delay in following the AAP recommendations.

The study has been published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

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