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Cranial Helmets – What do they do and how do they work?

“I know my baby needs a helmet, but I’m nervous and I do not know what to expect.” This is a very common thought that crosses caregivers’ minds. 

Cranial remolding helmets work by holding the areas that are prominent while providing space where there is flattening. There is no squishing, forcing or manual manipulation done to your child’s head. We are passively allowing the growth to go in the specific direction to encourage the flattened area to round out. For example, if the back of your child’s head on the right side is flattened, the helmet will be touching their head on the back left region and have a void on the right to encourage all of the growth in that direction. 

Compliance is key for treating cranial asymmetry. In order to see correction and positive results, the helmet must be worn 23 hours a day. This is because a child’s head is growing all of the time and we need to capture all of the growth in the direction of the flattening. Don’t worry though, the babies don’t mind the helmets and it is often harder on the parent. 

The largest growth spurts for babies occur between 5-6 months and 8-9 months. During this time the child will grow considerably and we are able to gain maximal correction. The majority of head growth has been completed by the age of two which is why we are unable to treat with a helmet past this time. With that in mind, it is not surprising that treatment initiation is a time sensitive issue. Once the cranial sutures have closed, we are unable to reshape the head. The most optimal time for helmet treatment is around four months of age. We are able to assess the child earlier, however if they do not have head control we will simply assess and monitor the baby, reassessing at a later date. 

If you have any questions or you would like your child to be assessed please contact our office and we would be happy to help. This can be a very nerve-racking process and we would love to help in any way possible. 

Dawn MacArthur Turner MSc CO c, Certified Orthotist, Custom Orthotics of London Inc.
(519) 850-4721 office@customorthoticsoflondon.com | @cool_bracing


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