TREATMENT FOR FLAT HEAD SYNDROME
Excessive time spent in car seats or being left on their backs in a crib can lead to head shape abnormalities. Introduce quality “tummy time” to compensate the hours your baby spends on his/her back.
If you have noticed head shape abnormalities in your baby, you may need to apply repositioning for your baby and/or the cranial remoulding helmet therapy. Depending on the severity, repositioning and cranial remoulding helmet can be concurrent to increase the effectiveness of headshape correction.
Repositioning which generally refers to changing or alternating the position of baby’s head to allow even distribution of the weight of baby’s head. The objective is to prevent or treat flat spot. Repositioning is often effective for prevention of flat head during the first 3 to 4 months of age and when applied more than 50% of awake time.
When to apply re-positioning?
1. While baby is asleep (on his back), diligently reposition your baby’s head such that the rounded side of his head is placed on the mattress instead of the already flattened side.
2. When baby is awake, more tummy time will take pressure off baby’s head. Tummy time activities should be under close supervision for baby’s safety.
3. When feeding, alternate the arm used when holding your baby to avoid adding pressure to the flattened side of head.
Cranial Remoulding Helmet Therapy
If repositioning techniques have not brought about sufficient improvement, then Cranial Remoulding Therapy (Helmet Therapy) can be considered to treat flat head.
Helmet Therapy is a type of treatment prescribed for infants, with the aid of cranial orthosis, to correct the baby’s skull shape. Helmet works by leaving gap where flat spot is, this gap allows the growth of skull instead of flattening. The helmet also redirects growth from baby’s growing skull with gentle, constant pressure. Cranial remoulding helmets have been used to treat plagiocephaly since the late 1980s.
Treatment is most effective in babies between 4 and 8 months, over 3 to 6 months treatment period. Babies above 8 months (up to 12 months) can be treated but may require a longer period of time. Therapy will not be effective once skull growth is complete.