When he was a month old, I noticed a big flat spot on the back of his head. I asked the pediatrician about it at his 2-month appointment. It's a common problem now with baby's being placed to sleep on their backs so she told us some ways to counteract it: reposition him at night using towels to help him get off the flat spot as well as hold him in our right arms and get him to turn his head the other way. She didn't think his neck was overly tight (another reason for a crooked flat spot). I'd have been more ok with it if the whole back of his head was flat, but it was more pronounced on the right side. I really didn't want him to have a crooked head for the rest of his life.
At his 4-month appointment, after religiously torturing the kid for two months, he still had a bit of a cone head and a flat spot in the back right. She referred us to Cran1al T3chnolog1es to see if he needed to get a helmet. Tuesday was his examination.
They just called back to say that he does fit the insurance's criteria for a medically necessary helmet (his head is 7 mm crooked and flattened in back at 3.7 on a scale where 0-2 is normal). The company is out of network, but BCBS will cover up to 60% of the cost after a hefty deductible.
My dilemma is this: am I being silly? I've put his pictures below. Note how hunched his shoulder is in the top two pictures. That's not from how we were holding him, it's how he holds himself. We have a bunch of stretching exercises to do with him to get that to stretch out. The flat spot is on the lower part of his head, so it doesn't really show in the bottom photo.
Here's the don't bother list:
- First world problem. It's a privileged question: should I correct what are relatively minor imperfections?
- It's not that bad so maybe I'm making a tempest in a teapot.
- We have to drive to north Dallas once a week to get the helmet fitted. Through downtown Dallas during rush hour. UGH.
- Am I buying into some baby industrial complex by getting him a helmet? I don't think he's disfigured or that most people would notice anything wrong with him. The repositioning has definitely helped compared to what it looked like two months ago. I think we've taken it as far as we can though.
- Am I just buying into a trend? Is it a slippery slope that will end up with me buying him acid washed jeans for $500?
On the pro helmet side:
- I prayed that if we shouldn't do it, the insurance answer would be no.
- The back of his skull is somewhat compressed. His ear isn't in the middle of his head.
- Compression of the skull can narrow the sinus cavities and cause snoring and sleep apnea (I asked her if she knew whether Asians are more prone to both things given the culture of putting babies on their backs in swaddling for thousands of years. She didn't know. Seems like a good control group to me...)
- The ears are slightly crooked, ditto his eyes. Again, within the realm of 'acceptability'.
- If we get the helmet started before his fifth month, he only has to wear it for 6-8 weeks. If we wait until he's 6 months and up, he has to wear it for 18 weeks or so. So now is the time to decide, especially if the answer is 'yes'.
- If he's going to earn millions as an actor, he'll be very grateful we did this for him.
So, I need opinions. To helmet or not to helmet, what say you?