What is tightness in the neck (torticollis)?
This is when a tight neck muscle prevents or restricts head movements in a certain direction. The result often leads to the favouring of one side while sleeping causing a flat spot. It may be caused by position in-utero or at birth where the neck muscles are a little overstretched during delivery.
What does this plagiocephaly (plagio) mean?
Plagiocephaly is a fancy word for a flat spot on the head
Does the Serkel have any side effects?
We find that some babies experience increased sweating, increased temperature and/or mild skin rashes. If your baby becomes too warm whilst wearing the helmet, we recommend layering down with clothing and/or removing the helmet until they cool down.
Does plagiocephaly cause developmental delay?
No. Plagiocephaly is a cosmetic condition and will not affect brain development.
How long will my baby wear the helmet for?
The wear time of the helmet varies depending on age, severity and growth. We often find that the older the baby, the longer the wear time. On average wear times are around 3-5 months at 23 hours per day.
Will I need a second helmet?
A second helmet is very unlikely but very severe head shapes may require a two-stage treatment as the head shape improves.
Will it come back when treatment is over?
This is very unlikely. Three reasons for why this is are that a baby’s skull bones are much firmer by the end of treatment, the flat spot will most likely be greatly improved and therefore becomes a less favourable position to rest on, and the third reason is that a baby’s sleeping position will often vary from commencement of therapy.
What if my baby still sleeps on the flat spot whilst wearing the helmet?
This is completely fine. The helmet is modified to accommodate your baby’s sleeping position whilst still redirecting growth to the flat spot.
My child’s score is severe but is sleeping on their tummy, will I still need a helmet?
This depends on the child’s age, head size and potential for growth.
My child’s Serkel is still moving out of place on the head; is this normal?
Minor movements are normal but in the case of excessive spinning or shifting see your orthotist for an adjustment.
Will my baby get sores/pain?
The Serkel is custom made to your child’s head shape creating a total contact fit on the high spots. This greatly reduces the risk of pressure sores and pain. The Serkel redirects growth to the flat areas rather than reforming the high spots. Pressure sores and /or pain are very rare.
Will my baby get a headache?
Although the Serkel requires a relatively firm fit in order to be effective, the force applied to your baby’s head is gently distributed in order to reduce pressure. Preliminary studies have shown that the baby’s disposition does not change over the course of helmet therapy, showing that the Serkel does not cause discomfort.
Do I give them Panadol?
It is very unlikely your baby will need Panadol as a result of wearing the helmet.
Why can’t my baby just wear the helmet at night?
There are two main reasons for this. Every baby will have growth spurts at different times throughout the day and night. Therefore, the Serkel should be worn 23hours to capture these spurts. This will also help reduce the chance of undue pressure on the high spots. The second reason is that good compliance leads to the best results. If the baby gets grumpy whilst wearing the helmet and then associates the helmet with sleeping, it is very unlikely that the helmet therapy will go smoothly.
My baby gets eczema/has sensitive skin, will the helmet effect this?
Wearing a helmet may increase temperature resulting in flare ups of eczema. If this occurs apply eczema cream, allow to dry, and refit the Serkel.
Why don’t you fit helmets past 12 months?
The growth of a baby’s head dramatically decreases past 12 months of age, leading to increased treatment length and disappointing results. Babies are also a lot more aware of their environment at this age and often try to remove the helmet themselves.
My MHN has said that putting a helmet on my baby is child abuse, is it?
Preliminary study results show that the Serkel helmet does not cause any physical or emotional harm to the baby.