Does the helmet hurt the baby? Nope. A properly fitted COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ?
helmet won’t put excessive pressure on your baby’s head or cause pain. How long does my child need to wear it? Over the first week, gradually build up wear to 23 hours per day. The child will wear the helmet for 23 hours a day, including during naps, for the remaining prescribed time period. How do you clean the helmet? Gently rinse the helmet in the sink and lightly scrub inside and out with a gentle soap. Avoid a strong flow of water as it can force water between the layers of foam and plastic. The best time to wash the helmet is at the beginning of each day’s 1-hour break so it has time to air dry.
What Parents Should Know About Cranial Helmets
Do I need to cut my baby’s hair? Maybe. Thick hair can add bulk inside the helmet, cause improper pressure
23 hours a day after a gradual buildup during the first week. Most babies start with a 6-week prescription of wear. After the initial wear period, the baby’s head is remeasured. It’s also recommended that families work with a physical therapist to correct the underlying issue that led to the condition, such as tight muscles that cause the infant to look mostly in one direction or muscle weakness that can inhibit movement. “While helmets are a great in helping shape the child’s head, without the support of physical therapy, the root cause may not be addressed. In these cases, the child will never be able to fully reach their potential to interact with the world because the patient and family do not receive the support and education needed,” says Aparicio. “I urge families to not be afraid to ask their doctors more questions, whether it’s why their child’s head is flat or requesting a physical therapy referral, because it ultimately benefits the child and their quality of life.”
earing that your infant’s head shape is abnormal can be concerning to new parents but doesn’t necessarily need to be cause for alarm. Positional skull
deformities, called plagiocephaly, are very common in babies who spend a lot of time lying on their backs or looking to one side. The condition isn’t painful or disruptive and is usually treatable with a combination of cranial helmet use and physical therapy. Babies’ skull bones are flexible, which allows their brain to grow rapidly (it doubles in size during the first year), and helmets work to reshape those bones before they fuse. “Helmets are a non-painful tool utilized to help shape a baby’s head. Ideally, we can place the helmet on during a period of rapid head growth within the first year, preferably between the 4- and 6-month period,” says Sierra Aparicio, an inpatient physical therapist at Rady Children’s. To ensure your baby gets the most out of treatment, the cranial helmet should be worn
and increase heat inside the helmet. Talk to your doctor about whether a trim is needed.
What do I do about skin irritation? Pink and red marks are
common and should go away on their own in about an hour. Slight rashes are also common and can be treated with a small amount of diaper cream. If your child’s skin looks like it’s getting chafed or has blistered, contact your physical therapist.
12 HEALTHY KIDS MAGAZINE WINTER 2023
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