We all want our babies to be perfectly healthy and normal, but sometimes, our babies have abnormally shaped skulls, either at birth or during infancy.
To treat these head shape deformities, parents can use baby helmet therapy. We’ve helped countless families of infants deal with deformities through baby helmet therapy and think it’s a very effective solution.
Here’s what baby helmet therapy is all about.
What Causes Head Shape Deformity
An infant’s skull is far from what it’s like as an adult or even an older child. It’s still growing and solidifying well after birth, and thus is vulnerable to outside forces or pressure that can make it change shape.
The most common cause of deformity is called positional plagiocephaly. This is basically a flat spot that appears on the side or back of a baby’s skull that is caused most often by how the baby lies during the first few months after birth.
A baby is at a higher risk of positional plagiocephaly if:
- The mother’s womb was abnormally shaped
- He or she shared the womb with a twin
- He or she was premature
- There have been delays in physical development that cause the baby to favor one side or one lying position
Just because your baby has a flat spot, though, doesn’t mean there’s a problem. You’ll have to talk to your child’s doctor to be sure. Repositioning your child on a regular basis when they nap or sleep is recommended and can alleviate the plagiocephaly.
There’s another cause of head shape deformity, although it is far less common: craniosynostosis. This condition is a birth defect in which one of the joints between the bones in the skull are prematurely fused. The brain continues to grow, which can result in a misshapen skull.
In this instance, cranial surgery is often required.
In both cases, baby helmet therapy can be an instrumental part of dealing with the deformity (after the operation in the case of craniosynostosis).
How Baby Helmet Therapy Works
Baby helmet therapy involves creating a helmet - or cranial orthosis - that remodels your infant’s skull as it grows over a period of time.
The baby helmet is made of lightweight plastic and foam and is custom-fitted to your infant’s skull. Your orthotist will take detailed 3D scans of the baby’s head in a quick, pain-free, non-invasive manner. We then take those measurements and use computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing to sculpt the helmet.
After it is properly fitted, the helmet will help protect the flat spot and gradually reshape the skull as it continues to grow. Your infant will need to be brought in periodically as he or she gets bigger so the helmet can be adjusted as needed.
Generally, cranial remodeling will begin between the ages of three months and 18 months and last for anywhere from four to six months on average. We recommend that the helmet be worn for 23 hours a day, with a one-hour break for rest and cleaning.
If the process is followed, baby helmet therapy can deliver great results.
Contact BioTech for more information about cranial remodeling and see if baby helmet therapy is appropriate for your child.