Plagiocephaly is a craniofacial disorder seen in children, which is characterized by a flattened skull. A plagiocephaly helmet is only recommended by the doctor, if the flattening of the skull doesn’t recover on its own.
Plagiocephaly is a common condition seen in babies, and is characterized by flattening of the head. The condition cures with time, if it is combined with certain preventive measures. Doctors recommend the use of a helmet, if the preventive measures fail to show any improvement in the condition. It has to be worn by the baby, for the recommended amount of time, and it helps in adjusting the skull shape back to normal.
The skull muscles of a baby are very soft, and they develop only with time, as the baby grows. It can develop in babies, in the fetus itself, or some factors can contribute to it after the baby is born too. The common causes that lead to plagiocephalic condition are as follows. Plagiocephaly can develop when the baby is stuck in the same position in the fetus due to lack of space. This generally happens due to small pelvis size, multiple babies (twins, triplets and above) in the womb, malformed uterus, etc.
Another cause is congenital muscular torticollis, which is neck muscle tightness, that makes it difficult for the baby to move its head, thus it remains in a single position for long time, leading to a flat head. Premature birth is also one of the reasons for this condition in babies. Sleeping on the back for a long duration of time, extended use of car seats and bouncy seats, are some of the other reasons that lead to this condition.
The flattened head in the baby is a cause of concern for the parents and near and dear ones of the child. But it should be noted that this condition is totally curable, with adherence to proper precautionary measures. Don’t let the baby sleep on the back position for long hours, and when the baby is awake, keep him / her on the stomach down position. Surgery to correct this condition is only recommended in rare cases.
The use of a helmet is recommended by the doctor when the condition does not cure with time, and preventive measures plus other treatment options are also not working well. It has to be worn for a specific period of time suggested by the doctor, and it starts with a small period of time and then proceeds to longer durations (even 23 hours a day). It helps in reshaping the skull back to its normal position and also allows the skull to grow normally. Initially it may be troublesome for the kid and parents, as the child has to suddenly adjust to continuous use of this new hard thing on his head. The choice thus plays a crucial role, and one should opt for cute helmets so that the child is attracted to it.
There are lots of designs and patterns available to choose from. When choosing a plain helmet, one should go for bright colors such as pink, green and blue. You can decorate it in your own way by making use of cartoon stickers over it. Or you can just paint it with some attractive designs like that of stars, flowers and angels. These techniques would make the baby love the helmet, and make it seem like his / her friend. The goal is just to make it friendly looking for the kid, and he / she should not cry wearing it.
Though the doctors would instruct you with all the precautions, make sure certain precautions are followed from your side.
- Make sure that it is comfortable for the child, and that his ears and head are well adjusted.
- Check the baby’s head skin for any rashes or blisters. If something wrong is noticed, consult the doctor immediately.
- The constant use leads to sweating, which irritates the baby. To maintain the freshness, shampoo your baby’s head daily and also clean it on a regular basis.
It is best advised to treat plagiocephaly at the earliest, when the baby’s bones are soft and flexible, making it easy to get back to the proper shape. It becomes difficult to treat this problem as the child grows older, and the bones mature. The constant use of a helmet on the small baby’s head makes parents nervous and wonder why this happened to their baby. But this is a wrong attitude, the thing that should be kept in mind is that it is for the baby’s well-being and is only for a specific duration of time.