Healthy babies with a moderate to severe skull deformation should not be treated with a helmet. The treatment with a so-called redress helmet has little effect, costs a lot of money and leads to side effects. That's what researcher Renske van Wijk of the University of Twente in the Netherlands says.
Skull distortion is detected in one in five babies in the first few months. This can happen because the baby's skull is still relatively soft and the head grows fast, and because baby is on his back most of the time. Deformation of the skull is prevented by wearing a a helmet 23 hours a day from six months until he is one year old.
This (cosmetic) treatment was reimbursed by the basic health insurance until 2013. Thousands of babies received a helmet per year, while the effects of helmet treatment have never been properly investigated. A research at the University of Twente now shows that helmet treatment is no more effective than waiting for the natural recovery. Additionally, treatment is expensive, often leading to multiple side effects, such as skin irritation and excessive sweating, and constitutes an obstacle to cuddling. Based on the results, the researcher recommends treatment for babies only with moderate to severe skull distortion.