Baby health: pillows prevent head deformation

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The baby's supine position can cause deformation of the skull and spine

Parents usually lay their babies on their back in the cot. Many doctors advise this position because it reduces the risk of sudden child death. However, the supine position can cause health problems. Doctors therefore recommend a positioning pillow through which the child's head hovers freely.

Supine reduces risk of sudden infant death Sudden infant death is the leading cause of death in the developed world after the newborn period. Children in the first year of life are usually affected. The risks include low birth weight, passive smoking, overheating and lying on your stomach. This is why parents are advised to lay their child on their back in the cot.

However, Professor Guido Fitze, director of the clinic and polyclinic for pediatric surgery at the University Hospital Dresden, reports that the supine position also poses health risks. This could lead to deformation of the skull and spine. The skull bone of babies is still soft and therefore easily deformable. In severe cases, permanent damage to the jawbone and cervical spine can occur. Fitze reports that about every 200th child is affected by deformities. "I see three to four new cases in my office every week," said the doctor. "This is a common problem."

Positioning pillow helps prevent deformation of the skull and spine To prevent deformation, parents can place their baby on a special positioning pillow (perforated pillow) at night so that the head hovers freely in the air. "With this simple measure, head deformation can be avoided", Professor Joachim Jähne, President of the German Society for Surgery (DGCH), informed in advance of the 131st Surgeon Congress in Berlin. "It is also helpful if the parents address the child from different directions in order to avoid a preferred lateral position of the head," adds Fitze.

"If there is a flattening of the back of the head, therapy should be started early," advises the pediatric surgeon. Osteopathy, chiropractic or other manual therapies are usually very effective in the first year of life with slight deformations. "The treatments last for several months", Fitze explains that if the skull is deformed more effectively, helmet therapy should help the baby put on a specially adapted helmet. The best time is around the sixth month of life. "In this growing season, the helmet can best correct the deformation." "If the child wears this orthosis 23 out of 24 hours a day, the results are very good."

Deformations can grow back up to preschool age. "Severe deformations, which also affect the face area, are not just a cosmetic problem," explains the doctor. This could lead to premature wear and tear on the cervical spine and incorrect loading of the temporomandibular joints, which cause permanent damage. (Ag)

Image: Helene Souza /

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