My son had to wear a helmet. A clear, ugly, stinky, oddly shaped helmet.
My son’s trip through the birth canal and his affinity for lying on one side caused him to have plagiocephaly. Plagiocephaly is a fancy medical term for a flat spot on the head. My husband and I noticed this right away and tried to stop it. We bought wedges for his crib, got up and turned him during naps and in the middle of the night. We even resorted to only holding him upright against our chests when he slept. We tried everything we could to correct his condition. However, it didn’t work, and the doctor recommended we get him a helmet.
My son wearing a helmet was more stressful for me than it had to be. If you’re facing the same situation, here are 10 ways to minimize the stress of having a helmet head.
1. Decorate the helmet. Adding a touch of flair to the helmet makes it cool, instead of weird.
2. Big hats. Cover up the helmet with sun hats, beanies or even hoodies.
3. Get it while the child is young. The younger she is, the less time she has to spend wearing it.
4. Fight with the insurance about it. A lot of insurance companies do not want to cover helmets for plagiocephaly. After my son was born, I got a letter from my insurance congratulating me about the birth. A pamphlet with the letter informed me plagiocephaly was a preventable, cosmetic condition that they would not cover. When I spoke with the doctor, whose education I trust more than the insurance, I learned that it is, in fact, a medical condition. I got a letter from him, and voila! the insurance covered the majority of the helmet costs.
5. Think about how many bruises his precious head is saved from by wearing the helmet. My son wore his from 6-10 months and was constantly bonking his baby brains on things. It didn’t freak me out nearly as much as it would have if he hadn’t had the extra protection.
6. Buy alcohol wipes. They make it easy to clean the inside of the helmet and remove some of the stink. (Yes, it gets stinky and sweaty after 23 continuous hours of wear.)
7. Don’t be afraid to take it off for more than just one hour at a time. If you really don’t want to go out in public with your kid wearing a helmet, you don’t have to. It’s not glued to his head; you can take it off. However, the longer you take it off and leave it off, the more time he will have to wear it in the long run.
8. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. You’ll be surprised by the number of people who relate to you. You’re not alone.
9. Remind yourself that she won’t wear the helmet forever. It might feel like forever, but it’s only temporary.
10. Forget about other people’s judgments. We live in a culture that is highly focused on what other people think about us. It does not matter that your child has to wear a helmet, and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s just a helmet, not the bubonic plague.
If your child needs a helmet, like mine did, there really is no need to panic. You can get through this. If your child has a large head, also like mine, you can look forward to brighter days. Just imagine when you can shout at him in a Scottish accent, “Heead, down!” or “Heead, fetch me my pants.” Think of how perfectly shaped that heead will be.
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