On Monday night, Chrissy Teigen shared photos of her son, Miles, in a baby helmet, revealing to fans that it was “for his adorable slightly misshapen head.” She reassured that everything was fine and that he was “just fixing his flat.” Many of her followers, especially other moms, thanked her for her candidness, and for showing others that corrective helmets are common for babies to need at some point during their infancy. As more and more moms have shared photos and stories of their own children’s “little helmets,” there has been a rise in the number of people turning to the internet to learn why the corrective helmets are needed, and what they do.
According to Healthychildren.org’s “Parent FAQs,” baby helmet therapy “is a type of treatment prescribed for infants to help correct the baby’s skull shape.” They said that the most common reason for a baby to need a helmet is “positional plagiocephaly,” also known as “positional head shape deformity.” When the baby wears the helmet, it is meant to “direct growth from the flat spot” of the baby’s head to safely return it to its round shape.
Healthychildren.org, which is run by pediatricians, says that most babies are supposed to wear the helmet 23 hours a day so that it can “hold the round areas of the skull steady while allowing the flat spot to gradually grow and round out on its own.”
John Hopkins’ Health Library says that because newborns’ skulls are “soft plates with spaces between them,” “sometimes when a baby sleeps in the same position, the soft plates may develop a flat spot or uneven appearance.” Though plagiocephaly is not dangerous to the baby’s brain, it is only correctable until their brains have finished growing and the plates “harden and knit together.”
On Parenting.com, mom Danielle Herzog shared her experience of dealing with her son needing a corrective helmet. She said that though “the doctor said it wasn’t our fault and it was caused by how he had been positioned for months in the birth canal” and that “many parents have had to helmet their children,” it was still “a scary, unchartered territory for me and my husband.” After three normally functional months for her baby, the helmet was able to come off and his head was perfectly shaped. By sharing her experience, as Teigen has begun to share hers, Herzog said she “became a resource to other people who found themselves in the same situation with their children.”