My Helmet Baby (Squared)

Our family's journey with plagiocephaly

Next Steps…

on February 24, 2012

We found out yesterday that my health insurance company authorized Emily’s helmet, so she will be re-scanned next week and should have her helmet within 2 weeks after that.  We are lucky that our insurance approved the helmet, but being that I have a high deductible, we will have to pay most of it out of pocket anyhow.  Helmets are very expensive, but the cost of the helmet includes all of the fitting appointments throughout the duration of the time the child wears it.  I would have thought that since this (wearing helmets, not plagiocephaly) has become more common, the cost of the helmets might go down, but I guess not.  Demand is just higher now, but at least that means that the orthotists are more experienced with it.

Emily is going to be wearing a STARband, one of a few different kinds of helmets that are commonly used for this purpose.  The helmets are plastic on the outside and sort of a styrofoam on the inside.  They are pretty lightweight and don’t really bother the babies much at all after they’ve worn them for a few days, if the fit is correct.  The styrofoam is very thick when they first get the helmet, and as the baby’s head grows, an orthotist shaves foam out of the helmet on the part that needs to be “rounded out” and the baby’s head will grow into that spot.  The head will basically take the shape of the helmet, so you want an experienced orthotist to be doing the fittings.  The helmet should not impact hair growth, except maybe at a point of contact.  Some kids have a lot of hair in the helmets, but I just happen to have balder babies, which is a little easier for cleaning!  Once we get the helmet, we will have to expect to clean it once or twice a day and also wipe off or wash the baby’s head.  Samantha had her helmet in the winter, so although the smell was sometimes bad, I don’t expect that it will be quite as bad as Emily’s might be through the summer.  The babies wear their helmets 23 hours a day, with one hour off to clean and air out the helmet.

Orthomerica (maker of the STARband) has a STARscanner that they use to take a 3D image of the baby’s head to use for creation of the helmet.  This replaced the process of making a plaster cast, which I guess some offices might still do if they do not have a scanner.  The scanner takes about 1 1/2 seconds to get the picture, if the baby doesn’t move.  Here is a picture of Emily in her stocking cap getting ready for her scan on February 14.

Emily - 5 1/2 months old in Feb 2012

Here is a picture of Samantha getting ready for her scan when she was 5 1/2 months old!

Samantha - 5 1/2 months in Sept 2009


One response to “Next Steps…

  1. Hi- my daughter may be getting a helmet soon and this blog is so helpful- thx! We were leaning against it but my insurance will cover some so will most likely get it- thx for all your insight- our appt is next week- I enjoy reading your words and wish the best for Emily!:)

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