Flat Head Syndrome

It's an unintended consequence of preventing SIDS. More and more babies are developing uneven or flat spots on their heads.

At what point does your child need to wear a helmet?

Yesica Barajas stays active-keeping up with her two sons. Her youngest, Julian, is now eight months old.

Barajas says, "It was around three months when I noticed his head was getting flat on one side and kinda pushing the other side out more."

Worried, she took Julian to see his pediatrician, Dr. Amanda Votruba. Together, they decided Julian would need to be fitted for a helmet.

The helmet helps mold babies heads back into a circular shape, but timing is crucial.

Dr. Votruba says, "The earlier you catch it, the better they are to modify. If it's past nine months, sometimes it can be harder."

Dr. Votruba says she's seen an increase in parents worried about Flat Head Syndrome. In most cases, it's simply cosmetic.

In more extreme cases--like Julian's--babies may need a helmet.

The increase comes after the Back To Sleep Campaign began in 1994. It has reduced SIDS risk by 50%.

Dr. Votruba says exersaucers, Bumbo seats, and utilizing tummy time can all help prevent Flat Head Syndrome.

"It can also be how the parents are carrying the babies. They don't think about that, but if they're always carrying them in their left arm, sometimes the flat spots is on the right side of the head." Dr. Votruba said.

In Julian's case, he's been wearing the helmet for three months for 21-23 hours a day.

His mother says, "Now, when I give him a bath, I'm like-look at his head, nice and round. I'm excited about the results."

Keep in mind, some insurance companies won't pay for treatment. In some cases, they feel it's only "cosmetic."


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