Do helmets help correct babies head shapes?

Posted on: 11/17/2014

Do helmets help correct babies head shapes?

By Catherine Mazzola, MD

Since the 1992, implementation of the Back to Sleep Program by the AAP, physicians have noted that there are many infants who develop "flat heads" or plagiocephaly. Physicians have used repositioning techniques, physical therapy and cranial molding helmets to re-shape their misshapen heads. I have seen dramatic improvement in head shapes, and often we see the best clinical results and cosmetic improvement when physical therapy and cranial molding therapy are started early. There was an article that was published in the British Medical Journal by RM van Wijk that reported NO difference in head shape outcomes in infants treated with helmets, versus babies treated with just observation. In a Letter to the Editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics News, several physicians, including Peter J. Taub, M.D., FAAP, chair; Stephen B. Baker, M.D., FAAP; Arin K. Greene, M.D., FAAP; Timothy W. King, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP; Donald R. Mackay, M.D., FAAP; Delora L. Mount, M.D., FAAP; Jordan P. Steinberg, M.D.; and Mark M. Urata, M.D., D.D.S., FAAP , all members of the AAP Section on Plastic Surgery Executive Committee, reported several flaws in the article by RM Van Wijk, et al. Several errors in methodology and many questions about the accuracy of this study were highlighted. I would agree with these experts. I have treated hundreds of infants with many forms of cranial deformity, since starting in practice in 2002. The BEST clinical results are recognized when a problem is diagnosed early, and when treatment is expedited. Babies started with re-positioning and physical therapy at 1-2 months of age often don't require orthotic therapy, but those who need helmets, if started early, usually only require 2-3 months of helmet therapy. If you or one of your friends have any questions about cranial helmets, molding therapy, plagiocephaly or other craniofacial disorders, please call us at 973-326-9000.

Click here to view the AAP News article.

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