Health Desk-- April 17, 2017: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued public advice that babies should be laid on their backs to sleep to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Neither disease nor illness, SIDS is the diagnosis given when a baby under one year of age dies unexpectedly, and when no medical reason can be pinpointed, according to the experts.
However, there has also been a rise in another medical condition - potentially as a result of babies being laid on their backs.
Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition characterized by an asymmetrical distortion (flattening of one side) of the skull. It is characterized by a flat spot on the back or one side of the head caused by remaining in a supine position for too long.
It's caused "by repeated pressure on the soft skull bones, which have not yet fused, and become moulded into a different shape, Paediatrician Dr Maidenberg explains.
Osteopath Avni Trivedi adds, "it can also occur in the womb, during the birth process, especially with instrumental deliveries such as forceps or ventouse."
Indications that it has occurred also include there being less hair on one side of baby's head, asymmetrical ears and the forehead bulging on the same side as the flattening.
However, we should be careful in this regard because a baby's skull is very soft and pressure from everyday surfaces, such as beds or car seats, can cause misshaping.