My baby’s head looks flat. Does he need a helmet?

Probably not. While helmets for misshapen heads were commonly used by some doctors in the past, new research suggests they may not be necessary. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2014 found no difference between babies who used a helmet for 6 months and those who did not. They did find that parents of babies with helmets reported many problems, like skin irritation, pain and the baby disliking the helmet. At the end of the study “parents of both groups reported high satisfaction with their child’s skull shape at 24 months.”

 Can I do anything to help it now?

  • First, rest assured that most of the time babies heads will round out by 1 year of age as they start to sit up and become more mobile.
  • You can let your baby spend plenty of time playing on his tummy each day.
  • Most of the time, baby’s heads are flat on one side because that is how they are laid down in the crib. Encourage baby to look the opposite direction by laying them differently in the crib. For example, if you usually lay baby down with his head to your right, lay him so his head is on your left for a few weeks.
  • You can also place their toys on different sides during play time to encourage him to look in other directions.

 For more information, visit http://aapnews.aappublications.org/content/35/8/2.1.extract to read about the recent study published by the AAP.