In a previous article, I discussed the commonly expressed concerns of parents of infants with deformational plagiocephaly regarding potential functional deficits associated with the condition (“Beyond Cosmetic Concerns: Functional Deficits Associated with Deformational Plagiocephaly,” The O&P EDGE, April 2012). Another common concern is uncertainty about what might have
caused or contributed to the development of the condition. Parents are often eager to know whether they inadvertently played a role or if they need to modify their parenting style to prevent it from occurring in subsequent children. While the presence of a flat spot may be quickly dismissed as the result of an infant spending too much time lying in the same position so a flattening of the skull occurs, this is an oversimplification that fails to accurately describe
the factors that may have led to the development of plagiocephaly. While the 1994 “Back to Sleep” campaign is often blamed for this phenomenon, the majority of infants who sleep supine do not appear to develop plagiocephaly. This article provides a literature-based analysis of the risk factors associated with plagiocephaly that will empower clinicians to provide parents with a more detailed answer to this common question.