Understanding Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly and Scaphocephaly

Sometimes known as “flat head syndrome,” plagiocephaly (pronounced play-jee-oh-sef-uh-lee) is a relatively common condition where an infant develops a flat spot on the back or backside of the head. Many factors can cause flat spots. A baby’s skull is very soft and pressure from everyday surfaces, such as beds or car seats, can cause flattening.

No two cases of plagiocephaly are alike.

What is Normal?

Parents spend so much time with their baby, recognizing an abnormal head shape can sometimes be difficult. We’ve found it can be helpful to see examples of a normal head shape before looking at abnormal ones. Normally, the head is about 1/3 longer than it is wide and rounded at the back. Below are some examples of a normal head shape at three months, six months and nine months old.

Head Shape Comparisons

Normal Head Shape– 3 month old

Normal Head Shape– 6 month old


Normal Head Shape– 9 month old