Aims: A systematic review of published studies was conducted to study the evidence supporting interventions to prevent or reduce cranial molding of the preterm infant in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Background: Incidence of cranial molding has increased over recent decades. Cranial molding is identified as a contributor for negative physical and psychosocial developmental effects. Design and Method: A systematic literature review and critical appraisal according to the Cochrane Collaboration Center assessment criteria was performed. Results: Eight intervention studies meeting the inclusion criteria were identified. Most studies used the anterior-posterior: bi-parietal ratio as measurement of cranial molding. One multicenter quasi-experimental intervention study showed that infants who received regular repositioning had a statistically significant reduction of bilateral head flattening compared to infants who did not receive this intervention. Other studies had either methodological weaknesses or showed no effect for the intervention studied. Conclusion: Evidence is poor and restricted to one intervention; regular body repositioning. More well-designed randomized studies are needed to confirm the effect of regular head and body positioning.

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Pediatric Intensive Care Nursing
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Wielenga, J., Helder, O., MScN, Mansvelt, P., & van den Hoogen, A. (2011). Is cranial molding preventable in preterm infants? A systematic literature review of the effectiveness of interventions. Pediatric Intensive Care Nursing, 12(1-2), 3–10. Retrieved from