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Selecting the Right Cranial Helmet for Flat Head Treatment for Babies

Posted on Sep 20, 2023

In the realm of infant care, one common concern is the development of flat spots on babies’ heads. This condition, known as flat head syndrome or positional plagiocephaly, has led to the emergence of cranial helmets as a treatment option. These helmets are designed to alleviate pressure on specific areas of the skull and promote its proper growth and shape. However, selecting the most suitable cranial helmet for an individual baby can be a challenging task for parents and caregivers alike. The purpose of this article is to provide guidance in this selection process by evaluating various factors that should be taken into consideration. By exploring aspects such as fit, comfort, adjustability, and safety features, parents will gain insights into how to choose the best cranial helmet for their baby’s flat head treatment needs. Ultimately, making an informed decision regarding cranial helmet selection can contribute significantly towards ensuring optimal outcomes for infants affected by flat head syndrome.

What is Flat Head in Babies?

Flat head in infants, also known as plagiocephaly, is a condition characterized by the abnormal shape of the skull due to positional forces acting on the baby’s head. It typically occurs when babies spend extended periods of time lying in one position or favoring one side of their head during sleep. This can result in flattening of specific areas and asymmetry in the overall shape of the skull.

Plagiocephaly is a relatively common condition affecting approximately 20% of infants. While it does not pose any immediate health risks, it can lead to long-term issues if left untreated. These include facial asymmetry, potential vision problems, and developmental delays.

The main goal for treating flat head in babies is to promote normal growth and development of the skull while minimizing any potential complications. One effective treatment option is the use of cranial helmets or orthotic devices. These helmets are custom-made to fit each individual baby’s head and apply gentle pressure on specific areas to encourage proper skull growth.

Why Do Babies Get Flat Spots on Their Heads?

Positional forces and prolonged periods of lying in one position or favoring one side during sleep can cause abnormal skull shape in infants, leading to the development of flat spots on their heads. This condition is known as positional plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome. The soft bones of an infant’s skull are more susceptible to external pressure, which can result in a flattened appearance.

There are several factors that contribute to why babies get flat spots on their heads.

A primary factor behind increased positional plagiocephaly cases is the recommendation for babies to sleep on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). While effective against SIDS, this has inadvertently raised plagiocephaly risks.

Other factors include infants’ weak neck muscles, premature birth, multiple births, and prolonged time in devices like car seats. These factors make babies more susceptible to flat spots on their heads.

It is important for parents and caregivers to be aware of these risk factors and take preventive measures. Regularly changing the baby’s head position during sleep, providing supervised tummy time when awake, encouraging neck strengthening exercises, limiting time spent in restrictive devices, and seeking medical advice if necessary can all help prevent or correct flat spots on a baby’s head.

How Does the Cranial Helmet Work?

The cranial helmet works by providing gentle and consistent pressure on specific areas of the baby’s skull that are misshapen or flat. This pressure helps to reshape the skull by encouraging bone growth in the desired direction.

The cranial helmet is custom-made for each individual baby based on their unique head shape and size. It is typically made from lightweight materials such as foam or plastic, making it comfortable for the baby to wear throughout the day and during sleep. The helmet fits snugly around the baby’s head, ensuring that it stays in place and applies even pressure to the targeted areas.

By continuously applying gentle pressure, the cranial helmet stimulates bone growth in areas where it is needed most. Over time, this promotes natural reshaping of the skull as new bone forms and existing bone adjusts its position accordingly. It is important to note that while wearing a cranial helmet can effectively correct abnormal skull shape, it does not guarantee immediate results. Treatment duration may vary depending on individual factors such as age and severity of flatness.

Cranial helmets offer an effective solution for treating abnormal skull shape in infants by promoting proper head growth and alignment through gentle and consistent pressure application. Their custom-made design ensures optimal fit and comfort for babies during treatment.

When Does Your Child Need A Helmet?

A crucial factor to consider in determining the need for a helmet is the severity of cranial deformity observed in a child. Cranial helmets are typically recommended when the infant’s head shape deviates significantly from the norm, with a noticeable flat spot or asymmetry. This decision is made by healthcare professionals who specialize in pediatric craniofacial abnormalities.

The ideal age for helmet treatment is between 3 and 6 months, as this is when an infant’s skull growth rate slows down, allowing for effective reshaping with external pressure. However, helmets can still be beneficial up until around 18 months of age.

It is important to note that not all cases of flat head syndrome require helmet therapy. Mild cases often resolve naturally over time with repositioning techniques and increased tummy time. Helmets are typically reserved for moderate to severe cases where conservative measures have proven ineffective.

To determine whether a child needs a helmet, healthcare providers rely on thorough evaluations and measurements of head shape using advanced imaging technologies such as digital photography or three-dimensional scanning. These assessments help determine if the benefits of using a cranial helmet outweigh any potential risks or discomfort associated with wearing one.

Ultimately, the decision to use a cranial helmet should be based on careful consideration of the individual child’s circumstances and consultation with medical professionals experienced in treating flat head syndrome.

Choosing The Best Carnial Helmet For Flat Head Treatment

When considering appropriate options for addressing cranial disorders in infants, it is essential to carefully evaluate and compare various cranial helmets available on the market.

Key Considerations for Selecting a Cranial Helmet for Infants:

Design & Construction:

  • Lightweight and comfortable for the infant.
  • Adjustable to ensure a snug fit.
  • Ample ventilation to prevent overheating and skin irritation.

Customization Capabilities:

  • Helmets should be tailored, considering that every baby’s head shape is unique.
  • Allows for precise adjustments for effective flat head syndrome correction and minimal discomfort.

Manufacturer’s Reputation & Expertise:

  • Choose brands with a strong reputation.
  • Look for companies that offer thorough guidance and support throughout treatment.


  • While costs vary among brands, strike a balance between quality and price.

Choosing an appropriate cranial helmet requires careful consideration of factors such as design, customization capabilities, reputation of manufacturer or distributor, and affordability. By evaluating these aspects objectively and thoroughly comparing available options, parents can make an informed decision that will aid in effectively treating their child’s flat head condition.

Read More Blog: What Happens If You Don’t Treat Flat Head Syndrome

How do you prevent cranial helmets?

To effectively prevent the need for cranial helmets, parents can employ proactive measures such as implementing regular repositioning techniques and promoting supervised tummy time to encourage natural head shape development in infants. Repositioning techniques involve changing the position of the baby’s head during sleep or when lying down to avoid prolonged pressure on one area. This can be achieved by alternating the direction in which the baby’s head faces each time they go to sleep, using different positions within their crib or bassinet, and ensuring that they spend adequate time on their back as recommended by healthcare professionals.

Supervised tummy time is another effective method to prevent cranial helmets. It involves placing the baby on their stomach while under adult supervision, encouraging them to lift their head and engage in activities that promote neck strength and overall motor development. Tummy time should be implemented several times a day for short periods, gradually increasing duration as the baby grows older and stronger.

It is essential for parents to minimize the use of devices that restrict movement of the baby’s head, such as car seats or swings, and provide ample opportunities for unrestricted movement during playtime. Additionally, seeking guidance from healthcare professionals regarding appropriate positioning techniques and monitoring your baby’s head shape regularly can also aid in preventing the need for cranial helmets.


The use of cranial helmets has proven to be an effective method for treating flat head syndrome in infants. While there are various preventative measures that can be taken to minimize the development of this condition, such as frequent repositioning and tummy time, it is not always possible to completely prevent it. In cases where a baby’s head shape does not improve with conservative methods alone, the intervention of a cranial helmet may be necessary.

When selecting the right cranial helmet for flat head treatment, several factors need to be considered. These include the severity and location of the flattening, age of the infant, and compliance with wearing the helmet for extended periods. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional experienced in dealing with pediatric orthotics to ensure proper assessment and fitting.

While selecting the right cranial helmet may seem daunting at first, with proper guidance from healthcare professionals and diligent research into reputable providers, parents can make an informed decision that will ultimately benefit their child’s overall development and well-being.

FAQ’s ( Frequently Asked Questions)

  • What do I need to know about cranial helmet?

A cranial helmet is a medical device designed to correct the shape of a baby’s skull. It provides gentle, consistent pressure to reshape the head over time, and is often used to treat conditions like flat head syndrome.

  • How long does it take for a cranial helmet to work?

The duration varies, but typically, a cranial helmet is worn for 3-6 months. Regular check-ups are essential to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.

  • What are the side effects of baby head shape helmet?

Side effects are minimal but may include skin irritation, pressure points, or mild discomfort. Proper fit and regular cleaning help mitigate these issues.

  • Where to buy baby helmet for flat head?

Cranial helmets should be purchased through certified medical professionals or specialized medical equipment providers to ensure proper fit and effectiveness.

  • Can wearing a helmet impact neurological development in kids?

No, wearing a cranial helmet does not impact neurological development. It solely addresses the physical shape of the skull.


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