SleepCurve versus Helmet – as a means to treat Flat Head Syndrome
By Philip Owen, Paediatric Cranial Osteopath
When I am asked in my clinic to comment about the benefits of helmet therapy compared to that of a SleepCurve mattress, I usually start by explaining the important fact of which every parent must be aware. When a baby develops a flattening of their head gravity will bring the head back on to the flat spot. (Hence the reason why objects around us are designed with a flat bottom for stability).
Therefore, the only way to start the self-correction process is to take the pressure off the flat surface area. This can be done using a head protector, such as a helmet, or by removing the source of the pressure, as is the case with the SleepCurve mattress.
If the baby is young enough and the external pressures are removed which are making the head flat, the mis-shapenned skull will have a tendency to self-correct.
Research carried out at a major paediatric teaching hospital has shown that when a baby with flat head syndrome is placed on an ergonomically designed mattress, (i.e. one where the pressures from gravity are minimised) such as SleepCurve, then self-correction will start to take place. Note however that ALL flat surfaces need to be removed from a baby’s head, not just at night but during the day too. Bouncy chairs are bad news for a baby with a flat head as are car seats when too much time is spent in one.
The benefit of a helmet is that once your baby is fitted with one, the parent or carer can forget about keeping the baby away from flat surfaces. In effect the flat spot on the head is shielded by the helmet, thereby allowing the baby’s head to naturally reshape. The helmet itself does not do the reshaping, mother nature does!
The disadvantages of a corrective helmet are that they are expensive (circa £2,500), babies normally have to wear them for up to 23 hours per day, sometimes ill-fitting – resulting in pressure sores and are often uncomfortable for the baby due to heat.
The SleepCurve mattress is a clinically proven solution for the prevention, as well as treatment of flat head syndrome. The ergonomically shaped mattress with the supportive curve, helps distribute the weight evenly across the back of the skull. SleepCurve mattresses can and should be used as both a preventative, as well as a treatment measure. Not only are they very comfortable, but the mattress shape also promotes the opening of the baby’s airways, allowing the baby to relax and breath more freely.
Clinical research carried out at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool found that babies with misshapen heads will tend to automatically self-correct when put on to a SleepCurve mattress. You can find out more about the clinical Study at Alder Hey here https://sleepcurve.com/clinical-study/