Your pediatrician recently diagnosed your baby with plagiocephaly and it’s up to you as the parent to figure out what is your next step. Perhaps your child’s flat head syndrome is mild enough that your doctor suggested repositioning as the first course of action. But what happens when the doctor thinks that cranial remolding therapy is a must? The question is – do you have the right to say no and what will happen if you do.
Can you refuse remolding therapy?
As the parent you are the person ultimately responsible for deciding what is best for your baby. It is up to you to balance information provided by your pediatrician with what you think is right. So, yes – you do have the right to try other treatment courses like repositioning and physical therapy before helmet therapy. Ideally your child’s doctor is someone you trust. If you have questions about the best course of treatment you can also consider a second opinion from a specialist.
Should you refuse remolding therapy?
Hearing something is “wrong” with your baby isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright scary. When your doctor recommends your baby wear a medical device nearly round the clock it compounds the fear and worry. In reality, plagiocephaly treatments are generally much easier and more comfortable than most parents anticipate. The time that baby is required to participate in the therapy is usually very brief. The helmets and bands currently available are lightweight, breathable and more comfortable than they often look. It’s important to consider each angle when making a decision.
What will happen without cranial remolding treatment?
The real question that most parents want to ask is what will happen if they do not complete cranial remolding therapy. This is a legitimate question to ask. In some mild cases this treatment can be avoided in favor of repositioning. This means to move baby’s position throughout the day to make sure she never spends too much time lying on one side. In more severe cases, this may not be enough.
Potential physical outcomes
Physiological outcomes are largely based on the severity of the diagnosis. If you child has a very mild case of baby flat head syndrome, the pediatrician may prescribe a course of repositioning therapy. When the flattening is mild the skull will generally grow typically over time. If the case is more severe and goes untreated it can lead to more outward symptoms. Some of the possibilities include:
– Mild to moderate facial asymmetry
– An open mouth posture
– Problems with eating and drinking
– Shortening of neck or trunk muscles
– Decreased strength
– Misshaping of the skull
While these are by no means a likely outcome, in moderate to severe cases of infant plagiocephaly, they are possible if the flattening is left untreated.
Possible developmental outcomes
In addition to physical symptoms, there are possible developmental implications. Studies have shown that baby flat head syndrome can lead to a number of developmental issues, specifically when no treatment is provided. The delays include both fine and gross motor delays and delays in reaching typical childhood milestones. The data suggests that when children receive timely and appropriate treatment for the diagnosis, the delays are minimal.
So in the end, parents have plenty of say in how their son or daughters plagiocephaly diagnosis will be treated. When flattening is in the moderate to severe range cranial remodeling may be the best course of treatment. It is important to work with the pediatrician to find a balance between comfort and the best treatment.