Researchers at Canada's Mount Royal University have found that nearly half of newborn babies develop a condition known as positional plagiocephaly, in which their heads are flattened, by the time they are two months old.
The American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended back in 1992 that parents should make their infants sleep on their backs in order to minimize the risk of death due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The researchers said that while the mortality rate due to SIDS has reduced dramatically following the recommendation, one consequence of the practice is that more number of babies have positional plagiocephaly, or flat spots on their heads.
The researchers observed over 440 healthy full term babies and found that around 205, or 46 percent, of the babies developed some form of flat spots on their heads by the time they were two months old. However the researchers were quick to add that such flat spots are generally harmless and though some babies may experience mild developmental delays, they usually disappeared by 18 months.
"Since the 1992 recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to have infants sleep on their backs, infant mortality from sudden infant death syndrome has declined dramatically. One consequence, however, has been an increase in positional plagiocephaly, or flat spots on infants' heads", the researchers said in a statement.