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What is the best position for my baby to sleep? It is a fairly frequent question among moms in pediatric consultations, and one of the main recommendations of pediatricians in the first visits of the baby.
In 1992 the American Pediatric Association carried out an outreach campaign known as "Back to sleep", recommending placing the baby on his back to sleep, which clearly prevented Sudden Infant Death. As a result, according to some studies, mortality was reduced by up to 40%, which made the campaign a success, and the recommendation is fully accepted and disseminated among pediatricians.
Laying the baby on his back, has resulted in an increase in cranial deformities known as postural plagiocephaly, which has become a cause for concern among mothers. The sutures (tissue that joins the bones of the skull) are open, unlike other pathologies such as craniosynostosis (early and abnormal closure of cranial sutures), which are more serious and complex.
The pediatrician must rule out associated pathology, such as torticollis or neurological alterations that may be the cause of the child always looking to the same side. In some cases they require rehabilitation exercises.
There is no scientific evidence to show at present that positional plagiocephaly produces other alterations than cranial and / or facial deformityThat is, it is a rather aesthetic issue, but sometimes it can be so striking that it requires treatment.
There are protocols such as the one at the Hospital Infantil 12 de Octubre in Madrid to manage this pathology and coordinate the actions of the main specialists involved: pediatricians, rehabilitators and pediatric neurosurgeons.
To avoid deformity, postural changes in bed should be encouraged, and to improve those already established, some simple measures can be carried out:
- Put toys on the opposite side to the plane, so that the head turns.
- Place the crib in such a way that the child is stimulated and speaks from the opposite side to the flat. They generally look at the parents' bed, so you can change the direction in which the baby lies down, that is, the head of the crib, so that each time they lie on one side.
- Allow the baby to play on his tummy for the first 3-4 months, whenever he is awake and in the presence of the parents, to strengthen the cervical muscles.
When these measures are not sufficient, the option of a cranial orthosis in other words, the helmet, which must be worn after 5 months. They exist in many colors and designs. They are used for about 22-23 hours a day to be effective, and the results are so good that it is well worth the effort. Specialized orthopedics should always be consulted on these issues.
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