Should I get my Child a Helmet?
Plagio…what? At three months old, it was determined that Will had plagiocephaly and torticollis. I was surprised at how much this diagnosis affected me. “It’s our fault,” I told my husband. “We put him in his rock n’ play too much. We should’ve held him more!” As usual, my husband was the calm one, and I was overreacting. We began physical therapy immediately with the hopes of correcting the problems without further intervention. After five sessions, I was an expert at the exercises : ) and decided to discontinue his therapy.
His neck seemed to be getting stronger, but his head remained flat despite the fact that we were spending 50% of his waking time on his tummy. Against what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, our pediatrician advised having Will sleep on his belly. “But he loves sleeping on his back,” I told my pediatrician. Luckily, a friend (thanks Katie!) gave me great advice-start him sleeping on his back, and flip him over onto his belly once he is sound asleep. Slowly but surely, Will became a tummy sleeper, but I still was fearful of SIDS. I bought and returned the Angel Care Monitor, because I could never figure out if it was actually working or just easing my nerves.
My pediatrician also advised I contact Dr. Vicari, a pediatric plastic surgeon, who books up months in advance. I guess he is the “Guru” of flat head syndrome. We put ourselves on the cancellation list and we were able to get in a few weeks later. Dr. Vicari told me exactly what I knew, but didn’t want to hear. Against my husband’s wishes I paid for the $300 head scan, which wasn’t covered by insurance. I tearfully spoke to another family at the office whose son was getting his helmet off that day. They were reassuring and comforting, and convinced me I was doing the right thing.
The next step was to get in touch with Rob Novak, a orthotics doctor with Lurie Children’s Hospital. Within two weeks, the helmet was created and Will was ready for his fitting.
To our relief, Will has had no problems playing, eating, and sleeping with his helmet on. In fact, I don’t think he knows it’s there. What would you do if your child’s head was flat? Helmet or no helmet?