Why Do Babies Wear Helmets : 12 Sensible Reasons
Why do babies wear helmets : 12 sensible reasons to take note of for the sake of your little passenger's safety.
Babies are delicate and fragile creatures that require constant care and protection.
One of the ways that parents and caregivers can ensure the safety and well-being of their babies is by placing them in helmets. These helmets, also known as cranial orthoses, are designed to correct head shape and protect the head from injury.
In this article, we will explore the medical reasons for why babies wear helmets, the advantages and disadvantages of using them, and other important information about this topic. We've also added HELPFUL video can be found at the end of this article.
12 Sensible Reasons Why Babies Wear Helmet
- Cranial asymmetry: Helmets are often used to correct asymmetry in a baby's head shape, also known as plagiocephaly.
- Brachycephaly: Helmets are also used to treat brachycephaly, which is a condition where the back of the head is flattened.
- Scaphocephaly: This condition is characterized by a long and narrow head shape, and helmets can be used to correct it.
- Deformational plagiocephaly: This condition occurs when a baby's head shape is changed due to external forces, such as consistently sleeping on one side.
- Positional plagiocephaly: This condition is caused by a congenital torticollis, a condition where a baby's neck muscles are tight, causing them to favor one side of their head.
- Craniosynostosis: This is a condition where the sutures (the fibrous joints between the bones) in a baby's skull fuse prematurely, and helmets can be used to correct the head shape.
- Trauma: In cases of head trauma, a helmet may be used to protect the head and promote healing.
- Microcephaly: This is a condition where a baby's head is smaller than average and a helmet can be used to help the skull grow.
- Hydrocephaly: This is a condition where there is an abnormal build-up of fluid in the brain, and a helmet may be used to prevent further brain damage.
- Post-operative: After certain brain surgeries, a helmet may be worn to protect the head and promote healing.
- Developmental delays: In some cases, a helmet may be used to treat developmental delays or neurological conditions that affect a baby's head shape.
- Preterm birth: Babies born prematurely are at a higher risk of developing head shape abnormalities, and a helmet may be used to correct these issues.
Andrea Braden, Associate Professor, Emory University School Of Medicine
Medical Reasons for Wearing Baby Helmets
Babies are born with delicate and malleable skulls that take time to develop and harden.
In the early months of life, the skull is still soft and pliable, making it more susceptible to injury and malformations.
One of the most common malformations that can occur in babies is plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome.
This condition occurs when pressure is placed on one area of the baby's head, causing it to become flattened.
- Flat head syndrome can occur for a variety of reasons, including spending long periods of time on the back, which is the recommended position for sleep, or from tight neck muscles, known as torticollis, that cause the baby to favor one side of the head. Plagiocephaly can also occur as a result of Craniosynostosis, a congenital condition in which the skull bones fuse prematurely. This can cause an asymmetrical head shape and can lead to developmental delays, vision problems, and increased intracranial pressure.
- Another condition that can occur in babies is brachycephaly, which is characterized by a wide and short head shape. This can occur as a result of pressure on the back of the head or from a condition known as craniosynostosis, in which the skull bones fuse prematurely. This condition can lead to developmental delays, vision problems, and increased intracranial pressure.
- Wearing a helmet can help to prevent and correct these conditions by gently molding the skull into the desired shape. The helmet applies pressure to the flattened or protruding areas of the head, encouraging the skull to grow and develop symmetrically. Helmets can also help to protect the head from injury and can be used to correct head shape after surgery for Craniosynostosis.
- The use of helmets for plagiocephaly and brachycephaly is not only effective but also non-invasive, and it's commonly recommended by pediatricians, cranial orthotists, and neurosurgeons. The helmet should be fitted and adjusted by a specialist to ensure that it fits properly and is providing the appropriate level of pressure. It is recommended that babies wear the helmet for as long as possible, ideally for 23 hours a day, as the skull is most malleable during the first year of life.
- It is important to note that helmets should not be used as a substitute for proper positioning and physical therapy for babies with torticollis, as this condition can also cause plagiocephaly. Rather, the helmet should be used in conjunction with positioning and physical therapy to ensure the best outcome.
- In addition to plagiocephaly and brachycephaly, helmets can also be used to correct other head shape abnormalities such as scaphocephaly and trigonocephaly. Scaphocephaly is characterized by a narrow and elongated head shape, which can occur as a result of premature fusion of the sagittal suture. Trigonocephaly is characterized by a triangular-shaped forehead and can occur as a result of premature fusion of the metopic suture.
- Craniosynostosis is a serious condition that can lead to developmental delays, vision problems, and increased intracranial pressure. Surgery is often required to correct the condition, and helmets can be used after surgery to help reshape the head and protect it from injury.
Richard Hosein, Director of Sales, Ctm Biomedical
Advantages of Wearing Baby Helmets
There are many advantages to using helmets for babies with head shape abnormalities or at risk of injury.
One of the main advantages is that helmets are a non-invasive treatment option.
Unlike surgery, which carries risks and requires a recovery period, helmets can be used to reshape the head without the need for invasive procedures.
- Another advantage of helmets is that they are adjustable and customizable. Helmets are fitted and adjusted by a specialist to ensure that they fit properly and are providing the appropriate level of pressure. This allows for a personalized treatment plan for each baby, ensuring that the helmet is tailored to their specific needs.
- Helmets can also be used to prevent and correct head shape abnormalities. By applying pressure to the flattened or protruding areas of the head, helmets can encourage the skull to grow and develop symmetrically. This can help to prevent the development of plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, scaphocephaly, and trigonocephaly, and can also correct these conditions if they have already developed.
- Helmets can also be used to protect the head from injury. For babies with Craniosynostosis or other conditions that put them at risk of head injury, helmets can provide an extra layer of protection. Helmets can also be used after surgery to protect the head and assist in the reshaping process.
- Wearing a helmet can also help parents and caregivers to feel more secure and confident in the care of their baby. When a baby is diagnosed with a head shape abnormality or at risk of injury, it can be a stressful and emotional time for parents. Knowing that their baby is wearing a helmet that is designed to protect and correct the head can provide peace of mind.
- Additionally, helmets have the ability to improve the overall quality of life for a baby. A misshapen head can lead to difficulty with feeding, difficulty with sleeping, and difficulty with wearing certain rompers for baby girl. Helmets can help to correct these issues by reshaping the head and allowing for a more symmetrical head shape.
- Finally, helmets are relatively affordable, with many insurance plans covering the cost of the helmet and fitting. This makes the treatment option accessible to a wide range of families, regardless of their financial situation.
- Helmets offer a wide range of advantages for babies with head shape abnormalities or at risk of injury. They are a non-invasive treatment option that can be adjusted and customized to each baby's needs, and can help to prevent and correct head shape abnormalities while protecting the head from injury. They can also provide peace of mind for parents and caregivers, as well as improve overall quality of life for the baby. Furthermore, helmets are relatively affordable and accessible to a wide range of families.
Kylan Heiner, Human Resources Director, Chrysalis
Disadvantages of Baby Helmets
While helmets can be a beneficial treatment option for babies with head shape abnormalities or at risk of injury, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider.
One of the main disadvantages is that helmets can be uncomfortable for babies to wear.
The helmets are custom-fitted to the baby's head, but they still exert pressure on the head, which can be uncomfortable for some babies.
This can make it difficult for babies to sleep or play comfortably while wearing the helmet.
- Another disadvantage of helmets is that they can be expensive. While many insurance plans do cover the cost of helmets, they may not cover all costs associated with the treatment, such as the cost of multiple fittings or the cost of travel to see a specialist. Additionally, not all insurance plans cover the cost of helmets, making it an out-of-pocket expense for some families.
- Helmets can also be difficult to clean and maintain. The helmet must be cleaned regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria, and the padding inside the helmet may need to be replaced periodically. This can be time-consuming and costly for parents and caregivers.
- Additionally, it is important to note that helmets are not a cure-all for head shape abnormalities. They can help to reshape the head and correct the abnormality, but they do not guarantee a perfect outcome. Some babies may still have a misshapen head after treatment, and may require additional treatment or surgery.
- Furthermore, wearing a helmet may have social implications for the baby and the family. Babies who wear helmets may be stared at or made fun of by other children and adults, which can be emotionally stressful for the family. Additionally, the helmet may be difficult to fit under certain types of mommy and me clothing, which can limit the baby's fashion options.
- Lastly, some parents may be hesitant to put their child in a helmet because they believe that it is unnatural or unnecessary. They may feel guilty for needing to put their child in a helmet or feel that it is not necessary to reshape the head when a baby is so young.
- While helmets can be a beneficial treatment option for babies with head shape abnormalities or at risk of injury, they also come with several disadvantages. They can be uncomfortable for babies to wear, expensive, and difficult to clean and maintain. Additionally, they do not guarantee a perfect outcome, may have social implications for the baby and family and some parents may be hesitant to put their child in a helmet. It's important for parents to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using a helmet, and to consult with their pediatrician and a cranial specialist before making a decision.
Sai Raj Kappari, PharmD, MSG, LNFA, Adjunct Professor, Bethune-Cookman University
How to Choose the Right Baby Helmet
When it comes to choosing the right helmet for your baby, there are several factors to consider.
The first step is to consult with a pediatrician and a cranial specialist, who will be able to assess your baby's head shape and determine if a helmet is the best treatment option.
They will also be able to recommend a reputable helmet manufacturer and provide guidance on the fitting process.
- One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a helmet is the fit. The helmet should be custom-fitted to your baby's head, taking into account the shape and size of the head, as well as the location and severity of the head shape abnormality. The helmet should fit snugly, but not too tightly, and should not exert excessive pressure on any one area of the head.
- Another important factor to consider is the material of the helmet. Helmets are typically made of lightweight, durable materials such as plastic or foam. Some helmets also have ventilation holes to allow for air flow and prevent overheating. It is important to choose a helmet that is made of high-quality materials that are comfortable for your baby to wear and easy to clean.
- You also need to consider the design and style of the helmet. Some helmets have a more streamlined and subtle design, while others have a more noticeable, bulky appearance. The design of the helmet can have an impact on your baby's comfort and ability to move freely. It is also important to choose a design that is easy to put on and take off, as well as one that can accommodate the growth of your baby's head over time.
- It is also important to consider the cost of the helmet. While many insurance plans do cover the cost of helmets, they may not cover all costs associated with the treatment. It is important to consider the cost of the helmet, as well as the cost of additional fittings or travel to see a specialist. It is best to check with your insurance company before making a purchase to ensure that the helmet is covered by your plan.
- Lastly, it is important to consider the level of customer service and support offered by the helmet manufacturer. It is important to choose a manufacturer that is readily available to answer any questions or concerns you may have, and that offers a warranty on the helmet.
- Choosing the right helmet for your baby is an important decision that should be made in consultation with a pediatrician and a cranial specialist. Factors to consider include the fit of the helmet, the material, design, style, cost and the level of customer service and support offered by the helmet manufacturer. It is best to check with your insurance company before making a purchase to ensure that the helmet is covered by your plan. With the right helmet, you can help your baby achieve a healthy head shape and improve their overall quality of life.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a helmet is the certification.
It is essential to choose a helmet that is certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
These certifications ensure that the helmet meets safety standards and has been tested for effectiveness in protecting the head.
It is also important to consider the length of time that the helmet needs to be worn.
The length of treatment can vary depending on the severity of the head shape abnormality, with some babies needing to wear the helmet for several months, while others may only need to wear it for a few weeks.
It is essential to choose a helmet that can accommodate the growth of your baby's head over the course of the treatment period.
Consider the ease of use and maintenance of the helmet. Some helmets have adjustable straps that can be easily adjusted to ensure a secure fit, while others have removable pads that can be washed to keep the helmet clean.
It is also important to choose a helmet that is lightweight and easy for your baby to wear for extended periods of time.
It is important to remember that the ultimate goal of helmet therapy is to improve your baby's head shape and overall quality of life.
It is important to work closely with your pediatrician and cranial specialist to ensure that the helmet is the best treatment option for your baby, and to make sure that the helmet is comfortable and well-fitting.
With the right helmet, your baby can achieve a healthy head shape and improve their overall quality of life.
The decision to place a baby in a helmet is not one that should be taken lightly.
It is important to consult with a pediatrician and a cranial specialist to determine if a helmet is the best treatment option for your baby.
When choosing a helmet, factors to consider include buying from a high reputable store like Bitsy Bug Boutique, the fit of the helmet, the material, design, style, cost, certification, length of time the helmet needs to be worn, ease of use and maintenance.
Lesley Northrop, PhD, DABMGG, FACMG, Chief Diagnostic Officer, Everly Health