A new FDA warning says that this kind of pillow is not safe for babies.
Does your baby sleep with a pillow that is said to “shape the head”? New rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say that you should throw that thing away (FDA).
The FDA told parents last Thursday, November 3, to stop using these pillows, which are sold as ways to change the shape or symmetry of an infant’s head. The agency said, “We don’t know of any medical use for infant head-shaping pillows that has been shown to work.” On the contrary, these pillows can “make it unsafe for babies to sleep” and may increase the risk of suffocation or SIDS (SIDS).
“If you have an infant head-shaping pillow, throw it away. Don’t give it to someone else or donate it,” the FDA said.
Most head-shaping pillows have a hole or depression in them to hold a baby’s head. They come in different shapes, like hearts or ovals, and are sometimes sold as head cushions, baby support pillows, or flat head pillows. There are no FDA-approved options on the market.
Parents ostensibly purchase these pillows to combat flat head syndrome, or positional plagiocephaly, which sometimes occurs when an infant sleeps in the same position for extended periods of time. This condition can make one side of a baby’s head look flatter than the other. Because babies’ heads are so soft, they are more sensitive to long-term pressure.
Flat head syndrome may look concerning, but it is very common, not linked to any developmental issues, and easily treatable with special exercises, corrective headbands, or varied sleep positions.
“Know that flat head syndrome usually goes away on its own as an infant grows. It’s not painful, and it doesn’t cause any problems with development,” the FDA said.
The use of head-shaping pillows may also delay “necessary evaluation” for problems like flat head syndrome or, worse, “more serious conditions” like craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which a baby’s skull bones join together too soon.
So, if you’re worried about your child getting flat head syndrome, talk to their doctor about ways to prevent it that have been approved by doctors…
not some random head-shaping pillow from the internet.