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Back to the Basics: Back-to-Sleep, Tummy-to-Play, Keep Positional Plagiocephaly Away

PathwaysAwareness.org is a 501(c) (3) Not-for-Profit Public Foundation

By VINCE & SHERYL LAKE

With all of these new child health advisories, regulations, alerts, and laws being passed and banned, many new parents/caregivers are finding it hard to stay up-to-date.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Back-to-Sleep campaign began in 1994 as a way to educate parents/caregivers and healthcare professionals on ways to reduce the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since the campaign started, SIDS rates have declined by more than 50%. However, a notable concern has also been an associated rise in babies with positional plagiocephaly (flattening of the head).

What is positional plagiocephaly?
Positional plagiocephaly is a condition where the baby's head develops a flat spot(s) or becomes misshapen due to external pressure to the back or side of the skull. This can also result in irregular development of the skull structure ― ever see a baby wearing one of those helmets and wonder why? Referrals for treatment of cranial asymmetry during the two year period after the AAP's recommendations increased six-fold compared with the previous 13 years (Kennedy, Majnemer, Farmer, et al., 2009).

What can parents/caregivers do to prevent condition from occurring or getting worse?
In response to this increase, the AAP has published specific guidelines for parents/caregivers to prevent cranial asymmetry related to positioning issues:

  • Ensure baby get's adequate tummy time daily. See tummy time standards from Pathways.org
  • Avoid leaving baby in crib, bassinet, car seat or swing for an extended amount of time.
  • Remove baby from crib or bassinet once baby is awake.
  • Limit baby's time in infant equipment such as car seats, swings, and carriers.
  • Encourage the use of toys from side-to- side for repositioning and playtime distraction; baby should rotate his/her head from side-to-side.
  • Reposition baby from one end of crib to opposite end of crib dailyCarry your baby in your arms or in a sling (i.e.: babywearing).

Now, it's your turn to put these guidelines into practice with your baby. If you remember nothing else,
remember "Back-to-Sleep, Tummy-to-Play."

Vince and Sheryl Lake are the founders of Cranial Cradle and previously operated a 6000 sq. ft. childcare center in Maryland. Cranial Cradle's cutting-edge products ensure babies have a surface to sleep on that may reduce excess pressure to the developing cranium. Like Cranial Cradle on Facebook and follow Cranial Cradle on Twitter

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