Plastic helmets helps used to help reshape a baby’s head have been found to have little or no use, research has found
Flat head syndrome, where a baby’s head is moulded into a slightly different shape when he or she is born, can be distressing for parents. And one method thought to threat the condition is for a baby to wear a custom-made helmet to reshape the head.
But a study, published in the British Medical Journal, has found that baby helmets are little better than doing nothing – and can cause side effects.
Scientists in the Netherlands looked compared the effects helmets had on 84 healthy full-term babies with moderate to severe skull deformation. One half of the babies wore a custom-made helmet from the age of six months to one year and the other half of the group had no treatment at all. Babies with very serious skull flattening were not studied.
Parents of the babies who had worn helmets said that their child had side effects including skin irritation and sweating
The researchers checked the babies when they were two years old and discovered there was no significant different between the tots. Around a quarter made a full recovery – 26 per cent had treatment and 23 per cent had no treatment.
Plus, parents of the babies who had worn helmets said that their child had side effects including skin irritation and sweating. And they reported that they felt the helmet got in the way of cuddling their baby.
‘The helmets have no added value compared to doing nothing and a helmet is an expensive treatment,’ says Renske van Wijk, lead researcher. ‘All parents in the study reported one or more side effects in the group where infants wore helmets. We would discourage helmet therapy in healthy infants, but parents with concerns should always speak to a doctor.’
Some concerned parents use the plastic helmets to help shape their baby’s head, if they believe it to be oddly shaped. The helmets can need to be worn for anything up to 23 hours a day and can cost up to £2000.
Would you ever consider using a baby helmet? Let us know what you think about them in the comments box below.