Seeing a baby in a helmet can be jarring to some. Helmets may be worn by small children due to a number of conditions that may have little to no effect on the child's growth and development. Helmets can be used for protective, post-operative or orthotic purposes.
Epilepsy is a condition that causes a person to have seizures. Seizures can peak within the first year of life and up to age 4, with some syndromes occurring at specific developmental stages. This includes children less than 1 month old, between 2 months and one year, and between age 1 and 4. For babies who are old enough to stand or walk, a helmet can help prevent them falling and injuring themselves while having a seizure.
This is a congenital deformity in which the joints within the skull bones close prematurely, giving the child an abnormally shaped skull. Other side effects of this condition can include headaches, visual problems and developmental delays. Treatment almost always necessitates surgery, and helmet therapy is often used post-operatively to reduce swelling and blood loss.
Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly
This condition, also known as flat-head syndrome, occurs when a baby develops a flat spot on his head from lying in the same position. Plagiocephaly refers to the flatness occurring on the side of the head, and brachycephaly defines flatness on the back of the head. The condition has become more prevalent since the American Academy of Pediatrics Sudden Infant Death Syndrome avoidance programs began “Back to Sleep” campaigns in 1994, recommending babies sleep on their backs. According to the Children's Hospital Boston, in the 15 years after the program began, the rate of positional plagiocephaly has increased six-fold. For treatment, orthotic helmets must be custom-fitted for the infant and are worn for as long as six months to help shape a baby’s developing skull.