The flat spot and the baby helmet
Krista Holmes shares her personal story about her family’s experience with her son having to wear a corrective helmet.
Tyson started treatment for torticollis in late 2014. After watching Tyson have a side preference for his head, I thought that it was worth looking further into. And who knew, local treatment centre One Kids Place allowed self referrals!
Within a few weeks side preference decreased (thanks to Lisa for all of the great exercises and tips that Tyson and I had to complete on a daily basis).
At one meeting Lisa mentioned Tyson’s flat spot. She felt Tyson would be a great candidate for a helmet.
Of course, right away I was shocked! I didn’t want to believe that it was that bad. Or that my son would have to wear a helmet (thoughts quickly entered into my head of a child that I witnessed wearing one since he would bang his head into the wall). Lisa let us know a little bit more about the helmet experience, and sent the referral to our family doctor. Tyson was diagnosed with plagiocephaly – which in non medical terms means a flat spot on the head.
The first appointment consisted of a scan of Tyson’s head which would allow us to determine if we wanted to proceed with a corrective helmet for our son. The helmet would cost $2300!
$2300? I made sure that that final zero was suppose to be there. And yes, yes it was.
After a quick discussion, we agreed that $2300 was totally worth it if our son needed the helmet.
Following the scan we were informed that, although Tyson’s plagiocephaly wasn’t extreme, he was a great candidate for helmeting.
Two weeks later, in the middle of January, Ian, Tyson and I returned for the fitting. Being in Sick Kids Hospital is a surreal enough of an experience, but I always told myself, your son is here for a helmet that is simply for cosmetic purposes. There is nothing wrong with his head. Brain. Health. It is simply a helmet to help shape his head.
Tyson was a great with the initial wearing of the helmet. They told us that we should try to make it to the parking lot before taking the helmet off. We went and visited a friend and her child that were living at Sick Kids, and got to the parking lot about 90 minutes later, and Tyson was still rocking the helmet!
Of course the helmet had its moments. And so did I as a mother….it sure took a toll on all of us. From 3 different infections, to the trips to and from Sick Kids, to just dealing with the daily maintenance and cleaning of the helmet, the helmet experience was a wild few months.
By July, we were almost “done” with Tyson wearing the helmet as it was getting tough – especially with the warmer weather. It was tough to see Tyson dripping sweat down his head within only 15 minutes of putting the helmet on. We almost didn’t go to our July appointment as we skipped our June appointment since Tyson hadn’t been wearing the helmet as much as he should’ve been (They wanted Tyson to wear the helmet as many as 20 hours a day! Yes – sleep with it on!). But, we decided to go.
AND, all of our hard work paid off! Tyson’s head was/is now perfectly shaped!!!!!!
So, to anyone debating over getting a helmet for your child, please know that although the experience is tough on everyone, the results are 100% worth it. Please do not hesitate to ask me anything about the experience as I only wish that I could’ve had someone to ask questions to (not that the staff at Sick Kids weren’t phenomenal, but from one parent to another, it is nice to have someone to ask, especially when you feel like quitting). When we left Sick Kids for the last time, believe me, we were all smiling!
After learning about helmeting from Krista’s experience, Urban Suburban Mommy had a few questions, which Krista was kind enough to answer:
USM: Is the flat spot potentially dangerous medically, or is correcting it more cosmetic?
Krista: The flat spot was totally cosmetic.
USM: Will it correct on its own if left without helmeting?
Krista: It would not correct on its own, so that’s why we knew that we “had to” helmet him. We didn’t want him coming to us when he was 16 and saying that he was getting made fun of when we could’ve done something about it.
USM: Do they like to correct it by a certain age?
Krista: We started the helmeting at the youngest age possible – 6 months. The later it is “found”, the longer they have to wear the helmet. Tyson’s head was obviously still growing (and we got new scans every visit) so it was a great time to shape it.
Krista Holmes, KH Mgmt, became a mother in the summer of 2014. She works behind-the-scenes in the Canadian music industry, designs several social media campaigns and manages special events. Her love for motherhood & music can be found on her blog, mommylovesmusic.wordpress.com.