Here are a few resources to help you through it:
- Hanger Clinic is proud to partner with
CAPPS, which stands for Craniosynostosis and Positional Plagiocephaly Support. CAPPS supports and educates families diagnosed with Craniosynostosis and/or Positional Plagiocephaly. The organization was started by parents who have personal experience with the condition, so they can relate!
- Ask your pediatrician if he or she can recommend any local support networks
- Ask your orthotist if there are other Hanger Cranial Band parents you can reach out to.
Families speak about our plagiocephaly treatment program
“When you are starting out, you think your baby is the only one in the world that needs a helmet - but I promise, that’s not the case. Plagiocephaly is common, it’s fixable and the treatment works! We initially questioned whether or not our daughter needed a band, but there has been such a dramatic change.”
— Tammy T. (Irenah’s mom)
“Relax into it. It might seem like a huge issue at first, but once you start, it becomes part of your life. Your baby won’t even care that it’s there. Time goes by fast, so own it and decorate the band and make it fun. Talk about it! Don’t feel ashamed! Realize that sometimes, things just happen. And keep it in perspective. If this is the worst thing that you’ve got to deal with then it’s going to be OK. Your baby is healthy and it’s all going to work out. Stick with the 23 hours a day schedule. You will see results!”
– Lisa H. (Jack’s Mom)
“Put your fears behind you and make the best of it. I decorated Presley’s cranial band with rhinestones and colorful hearts and polka dots. It was a reflection of her beautiful and bright personality. We knew we were doing the right thing and it was completely worth it. Our daughter hit all of her developmental milestones (sitting up, crawling, balance) wearing the band and I think it made her even stronger. Just know, you didn’t do anything wrong, the time will fly by and your baby won’t even care that the band is on.”
– Raena S. (Presley’s Mom)
“People thought it was so cute. Sometimes, kids or adults would ask me why he was wearing a helmet and I simply explained that it was helping to round out his head. They seemed satisfied with that answer and it really was not as big of a deal as I thought it would be. Now, I stop people on the street who have babies in cranial bands and I tell them, ‘I know that going through this can be hard, but it’s so worth it.’ It’s such a small amount of time to make a permanent difference in your baby’s life.”
– Corinne B. (Jake’s Mom)
Learn More about other Success Stories | Watch Ben Fox's Plagiocephaly Journey Here
Our Top Parent Tips
These suggestions were provided by moms and dads of babies in Hanger Cranial Bands.
| California Baby: Diaper Area Wash|
Clean cranial band and help decrease odors.
Borage Therapy Children's Lotion
Helps reduce irritation for babies with sensitive skin.
Reduces fricition and helps with skin irritation.
Can be used for quick cleaning in a pinch and won't irritate the baby's skin. Available in a pump bottle or wipes.
Easier to use for cleaning instead of a toothbrush because the rounded shape fits well inside the band.
15 Minute Breaks
Instead of taking one solid hour out 'out of the helmet' split that hour into 15 minute breaks, which helps with sweating especially during the summer.
Bling Your Band or O So Splendid
Add more personal touches to the cranial band by ordering and applying vinyl decals
Personalize Your Hanger Cranial Band
At your initial scanning appointment, you will choose the color and design of your Hanger Cranial Band. Rather than trying to ignore the cranial band, we encourage you to embrace it and make it fun! This is a chance to express your child's personality in a unique way for a few months.
You will be able to choose:
- Color and design of the hard outer plastic shell (your orthotist will have samples to show you, but you may want to select from these
colors and patterns before your scanning appointment)
- Color of the Velcro
- Transfers (select from Friddles
On the Spot or
Positive Image Transfers categories or
Fillauer (PDF) ) –
please check with your orthotist as availability may vary by clinic
Tip: transfers work best on lighter colored plastics
Plagiocephaly Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Plagiocephaly?
A. Deformational plagiocephaly, often referred to as flat head syndrome, is a relatively common condition that can be corrected. With the introduction of the American Academy of Pediatrics' “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1992, the incidences of SIDS related deaths decreased by 40%. However, over that same time the rate of deformational plagiocephaly has increased.
Q. What causes Plagiocephaly?
A. A baby’s head is made up of free-floating, bony plates separated by flexible tissue called sutures that expand and allow for brain growth. This makes an infant’s head soft and malleable, so even the slightest, consistent external pressure on one area of the head can create a flat spot.
Plagiocephaly can be caused by any of the following conditions:
- Premature birth
- Congenital muscular torticollis, a tightening of the neck muscles on one side that cause the baby’s head to tilt to the opposite side
- Favoring one side over another, which is often a sign of torticollis
- Twins or multiple births
- Restrictive intrauterine positioning
- Trauma at birth
- Cervical spine abnormalities
Q. Can Plagiocephaly be prevented?
A. Yes, plagiocephaly can be avoided, and mild cases of plagiocephaly can sometimes be corrected through repositioning and tummy time activities.
Any activity that keeps your baby from remaining in one position against a supporting surface will help reduce the chances of developing plagiocephaly. There are many other health benefits to supervised tummy time, as well.
Q. How do I know if my baby has Plagiocephaly?
A. If you are concerned about your baby’s head shape, talk to your pediatrician or contact your local Hanger Clinic for a free evaluation.
Find a Hanger Clinic location near you.
Q. How does the Hanger Cranial Band work?
A. Since 85% of head development occurs in the first year of life, early orthotic intervention can successfully round out the shape of a baby’s head by making the most of what he or she is doing best: growing! The cranial band gently prevents excessive growth in the direction that is most prominent, while leaving open spaces for the flattened areas of the baby’s head to grow, forming a rounder, more even shape. The optimal age for correcting plagiocephaly is between 4 and 8 months. Treatment can take place in children up to 18 months, but the level of successful correction may be compromised.
Q. Will the orthosis be uncomfortable for my baby?
A. Many parents are concerned that the cranial band will be uncomfortable and their baby will have a difficult time adjusting. However, babies adapt quickly and usually don't mind it at all. The Hanger Cranial Band is not meant to fit too tightly or to put excessive pressure anywhere on your child’s head. It is designed to be comfortable and secure. Areas where growth is being limited may become blanched or reddened. As long as any redness fades within 20 minutes of taking off the cranial band, there is no reason to worry.
Q. Will cranial band treatment disrupt our lifestyle?
A. During the first week, your baby will gradually increase the amount of time in the band to become familiar with it. He or she may show signs of displeasure at first, but your baby will grow accustomed to wearing the device. It is important to stick with the schedule we provide, even if your baby resists in the beginning.
Your family will be able to enjoy all of your favorite activities and pastimes during treatment. The band will become a normal part of your lives, and your baby will eat, sleep, snuggle and play without any issues.
Q. Will my baby sleep OK in the cranial band?
A. If your child has trouble sleeping, take the cranial band off and check his or her head to make sure there are no areas of redness; if not, keep the band on. Keep in mind that there may be other things going on with your baby at the same time he or she is adjusting to the band, such as teething.
Q. Will my baby be just as happy wearing the orthosis?
A. Absolutely! Wearing the cranial band will not affect your child’s personality. You’ll have the same happy baby you have today!
Q. What about perspiration caused by the orthosis?
A. Expect your baby’s head to sweat a good deal during the first few weeks. With that in mind, take special care to clean the band daily, even more than once a day if needed. Excessive sweating should taper off by the end of the second or third week.
Q. How long will my baby have to wear the Hanger Cranial Band?
A. After the first week, your baby will be wearing the band 23 hours per day. The length of the treatment depends on a number of factors including the amount of correction needed and the age of your baby at the start of treatment. Generally, however, you can expect treatment to last 3-6 months.
Q. Will it really make a difference if I give my baby a few extra breaks from the orthosis every day?
A. We know how difficult it can be to have your baby in a cranial band for 23 hours a day, and we understand wanting to give your baby extra breaks from wearing the device. However, successful treatment requires a full 23 hours of wear each day. Removing it for more than one hour daily will actually prolong the treatment process and reduce the likelihood of a positive change. We know it can be challenging, but commit to the outlined schedule and you will see results.