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When to helmet! Is it too early or late for me?
Updated: Jan 22, 2021
Where are you in your helmet journey? Plagiocephaly affects an estimated 20% of babies. Whether to keep repositioning or to start helmet therapy is directly related to your child's age, severity, and growth. Other factors your family may want to consider include how positioning is going, upcoming family vacations, developmental milestones, and insurance/financial requirements. In general, getting measurements and information sooner is always better than later. But if you are considering a helmet and not sure if it's time to come in for an evaluation, see some general guidelines below.
Your baby at 0-2 months:
Whether your baby is fresh home from the hospital or you have been snuggling them at home for the last couple of weeks, this is the time where you are really getting to know the new addition to your family. At this time they are also growing rapidly. Your baby changes daily and unbelievably, so does their head shape! At this time you want to be an observer of your baby's cranial development. Take special note if your baby seems to prefer a position, side of the head to lay on, or a specific direction to look in. Your baby is going to have some asymmetries at this time because they were just snuggled up in the belly, it can take time for this initial shape to change. If you aren't sure about your baby's head shape, be sure to mention concerns to your pediatrician early. It is also a good idea to document changes with photos.
At this time, intentionally positioning your baby off the flat areas and starting tummy time are going to be the best ways to avoid needing a helmet. Continue to follow APA guidelines and place your baby on their back for sleeping, but take note if their head continues to fall to the same side.