How Baby Helmets Work?

Treat positional deformities with helmet therapy in new borns.

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How Baby Helmets Work?

The skull of a baby can have positional deformity when born and to correct that, doctors use helmet therapy. The skulls of a new-born are typically soft plates that have gaps or spaces between them. The plates grow when the baby grows and eventually knit together and harden. 

There is a condition namely plagiocephaly which is very common and can happen for various reasons one of them being the wrong sleeping position i.e positional skull deformity. Sometimes, when a baby sleeps in the same position for a long time, there’s a possibility of developing plagiocephaly which is a flat spot or an uneven shape of the head. 

This condition affects the outer appearance but does not do any harm or does not pose any threat to your baby’s health and oftentimes resolves on its own when the baby grows up. But in some cases, paediatricians or doctors recommend helmet therapy or exercises that help in repositioning the skull of the baby. 

In some cases, the baby’s skull plates fuse a little too early or take an abnormal shape this condition is known as craniosynostosis. If a baby develops craniosynostosis then it’ll require surgical treatment and sometimes a helmet also is necessary for this process to correct the baby’s head shape.

How Baby Helmets Work?
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    What Parents Should Know About Helmet Therapy

    Helmet Therapy or Molding Therapy is also known as Cranial Orthosis. This is the procedure commonly used to correct or reshape a baby’s skull shape by putting a special helmet on your baby. 

    This therapy will not cause physical pain for your baby nor does it make your baby feel uncomfortable. Based on your baby’s case, the duration of the helmet therapy may differ but the average time limit is 3 months.

    Are there alternatives to Helmet Therapy?

    It depends on how severe the condition of your baby’s skull is. If the condition is not severe then physical therapy might be of help to change the skull position. If the positional skull deformity is severe to moderate then helmet therapy is the most effective way to go. 

    A child’s brain development remains intact even with a positional skull deformity. It also doesn’t cause any other medical condition. But, since social well-being is also necessary for a child especially when they grow up, it’s best to try finding a way to reshape the skull when you can. 

    Babies with torticollis find physical therapy like stretching and strengthening very helpful. The condition happens when the neck muscles of the baby are more contracted and tighter on a single side. As a result, the neck turns in a twisted position tilting the head to one side while the chin points in the other direction.

    Does my baby need to wear a helmet all day?

    Yes, no less than 23 hours a day. When you bathe your baby, you may take it off but apart from that, your little one has to keep the helmet on for the rest of the time even when they are sleeping. 

    You might think that it is very unfortunate that your baby has to wear a helmet during the formative months of their life but the helmet doesn’t cause discomfort so your baby will not mind.

    How often do I need to visit the doctor during my child’s helmet therapy?

    This also varies from baby to baby and depends heavily on the severity of their condition. However, you’ll need to visit the docs fairly often to verify whether everything is going okay and you also need to visit the company whose helmet you’re using for the molding therapy of your baby.

    When is the right time to start your baby’s Helmet Therapy?

    Helmet therapy, if recommended by the doctor, should start as early as possible so your baby has to wear it for less time. If your baby starts wearing the helmet early, it might be more effective since their development spurt is still ongoing. 

    For babies who have started wearing helmets later for example 8 months after their birth or after position changes, the duration is much longer and physical therapy will not be an option then. 

    This is why if your doctor asks you to think about getting your baby helmet therapy and you have the resources to do so, I suggest you take action as early as possible.

    Does my baby need Helmet Therapy?

    For any child, less than 12 months old, who has brachycephaly, scaphocephaly, or deformational plagiocephaly then doctors can prescribe cranial remoulding to reshape or correct the shape of the skull. 

    Whether your baby needs helmet therapy or not is not something anyone can prescribe so you need to follow a licensed physician’s advice only. It’s important to point out that not every child needs or is an appropriate candidate for this type of treatment so if you’re concerned then have a chat with the doctor. 

    Doctors also recommend helmet therapy after surgery for children who have previously undergone endoscopy to treat craniosynostosis to further perfect the head shape.

    Is Helmet Therapy effective?

    As a parent with limited financial resources, this came to my mind at first as well, whether my baby would benefit from helmet therapy or not. The question cannot have a simple yes or a no as an answer because it depends on various aspects related to the baby in question. 

    The effectiveness of helmet therapy heavily relies on how severe the condition is for the individual (i.e. the baby). Sometimes, helmet therapy combined with physical therapy helps correct the head shape and takes very less time as well. 

    However, there are cases where even after using helmets, the head shape remains the same or has very little improvement. In these cases, when the skull doesn’t comply with our efforts, doctors may recommend other alternatives apart from helmet therapy.


    There was a study published in Arch Craniofac Surg where they concluded that if worn for a longer period and the patient is relatively younger such as just after a few days of being born then it would be effective. Otherwise, older infants showed no change in their skull-reshaping process through helmet therapy. 

    This is why, if you’re a parent stuck in this dilemma of whether to opt for helmet therapy or not then I suggest you do the necessary research and make a decision quickly for time is of great importance in this case.

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