Why Do Some Babies Wear Helmets?

Sutures aren’t fused while the bones of the skull are flexible as a fetus develop. That’s what causes the flattening of the head, which allows the baby to pass through the birth canal. It might be necessary for a toddler with a misshapen head to wear a helmet to try to reshape the head as he or she grows.

However, only a specialist can fit a baby with a cranial helmet, which a baby can wear for several months until the shape of their head gets corrected. The optimal time to ask yourself why babies wear helmets is when your child is between three to six months of age.

However, the specialist must adjust it every two weeks as the shape of the head changes. A couple of reasons cause the head of a baby to misshapen, which is why babies wear helmets.


Causes and Symptoms

It is a condition that causes one part of the head of a toddler to flatten, which is one of the reasons why babies wear helmets.

One of them is torticollis, a situation where a baby is born with a short muscle on either side of the neck, causing a child to turn the head to one side often. When a child with this condition keeps sleeping on one side, the pliable bones of the skull can flatten, which is why babies wear helmets before they go to bed.

Plagiocephaly can also occur in premature infants whose parents keep turning them at night, and that’s why babies wear helmets at night. A sick child can spend more time resting on a couch or bed with their head-turning to the same direction, causing the bones of the skull to flatten.

Plagiocephaly can also occur during multiple gestation pregnancy in utero, where one baby has to push up against the other, which is why babies wear helmets.


Doctors diagnose this condition by looking at the head of a child. For example, a doctor may watch how a toddler moves the neck and head to check for torticollis. Computed tomography, X-rays, and lab tests aren’t necessary for diagnosing plagiocephaly.

Instead, a few visits to monitor a child are enough for a doctor to see how the shape of the head of a child is changing. A flat head syndrome could be the cause of plagiocephaly if repositioning the head of a child during sleep can’t improve the shape of the skull over time.

Conditions such as craniosynostosis are another reason why babies wear helmets as it helps protect their skull.


There is a lot that parents can do at home to treat a flat head syndrome caused by a lying or sleeping position.

Firstly, parents should keep changing the position of the head of their kids while they sleep. Repositioning the head of a child from right to left or left to right can help prevent plagiocephaly when a child is sleeping on the back. Though a child will probably move around while in bed, it is wise to place her on the couch with the flat side of the head facing up while the rounded side touching the mattress.

Parents also have to consider how they lay their toddlers down in the car seat or crib to prevent plagiocephaly. Experts recommend spending more time holding a child to try to reduce the time a toddler spends resting against a flat surface or lying on the back.

For example, parents should take their kids out of the crib or car seat instead of leaving the young one snoozing in the crib once they get home.

Picking up and holding an infant can reduce the pressure on their head, but one reason why babies wear helmets even when they are in a crib or car seat is because their skull bones are yet to develop fully.


Symptoms and Signs

Also referred to as sagittal synostosis, scaphocephaly is a condition where pressure on the skull causes the middle sutures on the bones of the head to close. It can make the brain to grow upwards and create a high midline.

When sutures in the skull close, the skull of a toddler will continue to grow towards where there are no fused sutures. In short, the brain of a child with this condition grows from back to front, resulting in an elongated head that could lead to the question why babies wear helmets.

It describes a child whose head’s shape is narrow and long, which is why babies wear helmets to protect their soft skull. Scaphocephaly is a common condition for infants who spend much time in the NICU.


Traditional treatment for scaphocephaly involves the enlargement of the skull or reopening of the fused suture by opening the lambdoid and coronal sutures.

Surgery is the only way to separate bones of a head of a child, and a skilled surgeon can offer both endoscopic and open surgery for scaphocephaly.

However, parents should ask their doctors to recommend the appropriate operation for their little ones.


It is a condition that occurs when the back of the head of a child continues to flatten, resulting in a bigger skull in the back of the head than the front.

Craniosynostosis, a rare condition that causes sutures in the skull to close before a baby develops fully is the leading cause of brachycephaly.

It can also occur when parents keep placing their toddlers on the back to sleep, but doctors recommend a few techniques to reduce the risk of death syndrome on infants. The back of the head of a toddler can widen or flatten when a baby lacks adequate time to play and sleep in other positions.

Something as simple as allowing a toddler to sleep on the back is enough to cause brachycephaly. It makes the head to flatten uniformly, resulting in shorter and broader head shape. Another sign that a child has brachycephaly is increased head height.

Brachycephaly with plagiocephaly is a deformity that occurs when a child has both plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. It is a positional condition that has become prevalent since the launch of the campaign, Back to Sleep.


Brachycephaly develops when the natural growth of a head of a little one meets an external pressure that can inhibit the growth of the head.

A baby’s skull is still soft during early infancy, and external forces can cause a section of the skull of a toddler to misshapen.

The cause of this external pressure can be outside the womb or prenatally in the belly of the mother.

Pressure during Sleep

Infants are born with pliable, soft bones in the skull which tend to develop as a baby grows.

The head of a baby is likely to flatten mainly for babies with a tendency of sleeping in the same position.

Your baby may become accustomed to that position as the flat area of their scar continues to develop, increasing the flattening.

Low Amniotic Fluid

It means there is less cushioning in the womb when the mother has low amniotic fluid. That can even cause crowding in the uterus for a mother with more than one child in the womb. Such a prenatal environment can subject an infant’s skull to pressure and result in a head with a brachycephalic shape.

The shape of a baby born with a large head is also likely to be brachycephalic because not all babies have strong muscles to move their head around.


Treatment for a baby with a brachycephalic head depends on the severity of the condition and the age of a child.

However, caregivers recommend repositioning techniques for babies that are still young as well as those in the mild range. Your doctor may recommend surgery for babies whose brachycephalic condition is severe or if these repositioning techniques fail.

However, one reason why babies wear helmets is that these gadgets work with the natural growth of the skull of a child for permanent correction.

The other reason why babies wear helmets is that they are good for the health of a child who is between four and seven months of age, but it can stretch up to 14 months of age

1 thought on “Why Do Some Babies Wear Helmets?”

  1. My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website SleepBaby.org – that website has been by far one of the best things I’ve ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out! SLEEPBABY.ORG 🙂 Best of luck to you and your family!

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