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House Calls: Preventing SIDS

Q: I was told my baby should sleep on her back to prevent SIDS. Now I hear this may cause her head to become misshapen. What should I do?

A: Continue placing your baby on her back to sleep. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics began advising this practice, the incidence of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, has decreased almost 40 percent. Although more babies are now developing positional plagiocephaly, or flattened head syndrome, this condition is far less serious and easily treated. Extreme cases may be corrected by wearing a custom-fitted helmet, but most cases self-correct by ages 12 to 18 months. To prevent the condition, allow your baby plenty of time on her tummy when she’s awake; move the crib periodically; or change the location of mobiles or other eye-catching decorations or toys.