There is an article in the NY Times which references research indicating that baby helmets do not help infants with plagiocephaly or brachycephaly. To understand how that conclusion could have been reached, I read the original research in the BMJ.
There are multiple aspects of the study and of the NY Times reporting which are questionable. Let’s start with these:
- The study reports that: “Problems with fitting the helmet were reported for 22 of 30 infants (73%).” That is an extremely high percentage and points to the probable low quality of the device. This in turn leads to low parental follow through with wearing. A low quality device that is not worn fully helps explain the results.
- The research goes on to say that: “Our study also indicated that 75% of infants continued to have some degree of skull deformation at 2 years of age, mainly the plagiocephalic component” This statement sadly backs up the issue in #1 above. It is unacceptable to have 75% of babies wearing cranial bands still have plagcioephaly when they end treatment.
My conclusion is that the research shows that for the helmet that was used in the study, the babies did not improve. There are low quality devices available and parents need to be aware! We expect to see change within 3-10 days with the CSO cranial band. I’m saddened by other healthcare professionals not reading the research more thoroughly and instead jumping on the band wagon. I understand that some doctors are angry that parents are being sold helmets.
On a positive note, the research did recommend a focus on prevention. I completely agree with that. That is why we have an educational video series (streamed or DVD), offer classes, and educate the public. Please let your friends and family know!