Baby Gesture

Baby Helmet Therapy: What Parents Can Expect

January 27, 2024 | by Carlene Kuntz

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Introduction

When parents discover that their baby needs helmet therapy, it can be a new and somewhat overwhelming experience. However, understanding what to expect during the process can help alleviate any concerns or uncertainties. This article will provide parents with an overview of baby helmet therapy and what they can expect throughout the treatment.

What is Baby Helmet Therapy?

Baby helmet therapy, also known as cranial orthosis, is a non-invasive treatment for infants with cranial asymmetry or plagiocephaly. Plagiocephaly is a condition characterized by a flat spot on the back or side of a baby’s head. The helmet, made of lightweight and breathable material, is custom-designed to gently reshape the baby’s skull over time.

Initial Consultation

The first step in the baby helmet therapy process is an initial consultation with a specialist, typically a pediatrician or a craniofacial specialist. During this visit, the doctor will examine the baby’s head and determine whether helmet therapy is necessary. They will explain the reasons for the treatment and answer any questions or concerns parents may have.

Helmet Fitting

If the decision is made to proceed with helmet therapy, the next step is a helmet fitting appointment. A certified orthotist will take precise measurements of the baby’s head using a 3D scanner. These measurements will be used to create a custom-fitted helmet that provides the necessary support and pressure to reshape the skull.

Wearing the Helmet

Once the helmet is ready, parents will be instructed on how to properly put it on and take it off. The helmet should be worn for the majority of the day, usually around 23 hours, with short breaks for cleaning and bathing. It is important to follow the orthotist’s instructions regarding the duration and frequency of helmet wear to achieve the best results.

Adjustments and Follow-up Appointments

Throughout the treatment, follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor the baby’s progress and make any necessary adjustments to the helmet. The orthotist will assess the baby’s head shape and make modifications to ensure the helmet is fitting correctly and applying the appropriate pressure. These adjustments are crucial for achieving the desired outcome.

Potential Side Effects

It is important for parents to be aware of potential side effects that may occur during the helmet therapy process. These can include skin irritation, redness, or temporary hair loss in areas of contact. It is recommended to regularly clean the helmet and keep the baby’s head clean and dry to minimize these effects. If any concerns arise, parents should consult with the orthotist or pediatrician.

Duration of Treatment

The duration of baby helmet therapy varies depending on the severity of the condition and the baby’s response to treatment. On average, the treatment lasts between 3 to 6 months. However, each case is unique, and the orthotist will provide a more accurate estimate based on the baby’s progress during follow-up appointments.

Conclusion

Baby helmet therapy is a safe and effective treatment for infants with cranial asymmetry. By understanding what to expect throughout the process, parents can feel more confident and prepared. It is essential to follow the orthotist’s instructions, attend regular follow-up appointments, and be patient as the baby’s head gradually reshapes. With proper care and support, baby helmet therapy can help improve the baby’s head shape and promote healthy development.

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