Once in your life, you have probably encountered a baby wearing a helmet. Have you ever ever wondered why do down syndrome babies wear helmets? Most babies are born with the flat head syndrome, and the helmets help shape their heads correctly. As this dental team in Sydney CBD suggests, protecting the head and mouth of your child at such a young age is important even if they don’t have down syndrome.


Down Syndrome and Flat Head

Babies with down syndrome have a very distinct appearance. If you notice, the surface of their face and the back of their heads are quite flat. In most cases, helmet therapy is not much needed as the flathead condition will improve in 5 years. But since some parents are concerned about the head shape of their babies, they consider helmet therapy immediately.

flat head syndromeFlathead syndrome or positional plagiocephaly happens when the baby favors sleeping on one side only. This is the most common reason why some babies, even those without the down syndrome, wear helmets. Technically, the helmet will force the flat surface to round out. The helmet used in correcting the head shape is advisable for babies as their skulls are soft and are still developing.

Other Facts about Down Syndrome

A flat head is not the only thing that you will notice in down syndrome babies; some of their features are also affected. Listed below are the most common things that they possess:

  • flat face, particularly in the nose bridge
  • eyes that are shaped like an almond
  • short neck than usual
  • smaller ear size
  • a tongue that sticks out
  • small feet and hands
  • palmar crease
  • small pinky finger
  • loose joints and weak muscle tone
  • short heights than kids their age



Positional plagiocephaly is not the only reason why some babies’ head shapes are not normal. Craniosynostosis is also one of the reasons why some babies wear protective helmets. This condition needs to be treated immediately as it can affect the skull’s growth and eventually restrict the development of the brain.

Craniosynostosis is when the bone plates in the skulls are fusing, causing the head to be misshapen. Up to this writing, the root cause of Craniosynostosis is still unknown. However, experts believe that it has something to do with genes.


Helmet Therapy For Babies Flat Head

Generally, helmet therapy is a kind of treatment to shape the baby’s head. Helmets are worn during babyhood because this is the stage where their skulls are still flexible. Hence, making the treatment a hundred percent successful.

Babies wear helmets while the brain and skulls are still under development. Wearing the gear after the growth will no longer help correct the child’s head shape.

Getting a Helmet

Parents cannot just buy these helmets over the counter. A doctor must examine their baby’s head first before they could get a recommendation. Next, they will be referred to a professional who will measure the baby’s head to find the perfect size for the child.

Wearing the Gear

There is also a specified time as to how long babies should wear helmets. The helmet will work while the skull and the brain are slowly growing.

Ideally, babies should wear their helmets for 23 hours every day. Since they are not used to having the gear on their heads, putting it on them can be challenging at first. But don’t worry because they will eventually get used to it anyway. The only time for you to remove the helmet is during their bath time, and this will also allow you to clean the gear before they wear it again. Cleaning the helmet is important to prevent problems like skin rashes, discomfort, and unpleasant odor.


Right Age for Babies to Wear Helmets

According to specialists, babies need to wear the helmet as early as possible. So if a parent notices their baby’s head shape is not round, they may opt for helmet therapy right away. Moreover, the younger the baby is, the better the results will be.

On the other hand, babies who are 8th months and above can still wear helmets. But unlike younger babies, they have to wear it for a longer period of time.


How Long Does it Take

Each baby is different. Some may need to wear helmets longer than others. However, the age of the baby matters. For instance, babies who started wearing helmets in their 3rd month may not need to wear them after 3 or 4 months. But babies who started wearing them late may need to wear them for several months. In some cases, a second helmet is even needed.

smiling babyThe flat head syndrome is a common occurrence. In fact, a lot of babies have this condition. Even adults have an uneven head shape as well. Doctors state that there is nothing much to worry about having a misshapen head. The head should automatically become round once the child reached five years of age. The helmet is only recommended to correct the shape as early as possible, which most parents would prefer.


Other Treatments for Flat Head Syndrome

Aside from wearing helmets, your pediatrician might also suggest alternative treatments. Physical therapy is a common recommendation because babies with flat heads are often linked to a twisted neck. Try these methods below to help you shift your baby’s head from one direction to another and prevent a misshapen head.

Sleeping on their tummy. From time to time, position your baby in his tummy. This will give their backs enough time to rest from lying down for too long. It also helps in strengthening their neck muscles. It’s also a proven technique to help them sleep deeply.

Cuddle your baby. If you have extra time, use it to spend quality time with your baby. There is nothing wrong with holding them from time to time while they are sleeping. In fact, it helps them stay relaxed, knowing that they are held warmly.

Breastfeed your baby from both sides. Some babies do favor one side of the breast over the other. For some reason, they are not comfortable feeding from the other side. Practice them to feed on both sides so their head won’t stay on one side for too long.

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