Teaching Parents How to Prevent Acquired Cranial Asymmetry in Infants

Published:January 26, 2016DOI:


      • NSP is prevalent today due to supine sleep recommendation for infant safety.
      • Child health nurses have a golden opportunity to help prevent NSP.
      • Parents are receptive to information from their child health nurse.
      Acquired cranial asymmetry is prevalent in infants today. This is largely attributed to the supine sleep position recommended for infant safety. The condition can become permanent, so prevention and early detection are important. A prevention project was initiated where guidelines for Swedish child health nurses were developed, tested in a pilot study, revised, and then incorporated into a short cranial asymmetry prevention program for nurses. The program included detailed information on what to teach parents of newborns. An intervention study was initiated where one group of nurses was taught according to the program and the other group followed the standard recommendations. The aim of this survey was to compare intervention and control group parents’ responses regarding the cranial asymmetry prevention information that they had received from their nurses during their infant’s first four months. Participants included 272 parents (180 intervention group, 92 control group) at 26 child health centers. A checklist was distributed to parents in conjunction with infants’ four month health checkup. A significantly higher percentage of intervention group parents were aware of regular recommendations – alternate direction of the infant’s head when putting the child to bed (82%: 64%, p = 0.001), which pillow to use (92%: 80%, p = 0.01), and when to remove the pillow (48%: 31%, p = 0.006) – and five newly introduced recommendations compared to controls. Results indicate that educating child health nurses on prevention of cranial asymmetry works to increase parental awareness of what to do and how to do it safely.

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