Your public health nurse will check your baby's head shape at each Well Child Clinic visit. If your baby has a flat area, the nurse will talk with you about ways to help your baby's head shape (like how to limit the amount of time that your baby lies on the flat of their head).
Make sure to talk with your doctor if you are concerned about the shape of your baby’s head.
Check with your doctor or public health nurse if you:
If positioning doesn’t correct the flat area on your baby's head, your doctor may suggest your baby wear a custom-fitted corrective helmet.
A custom-fitted helmet is a safe, non-surgical treatment.
Corrective helmets work by redirecting how your baby's skull grows over time. The helmet keeps gentle pressure over the areas of your baby’s head that are prominent and creates space over the areas that are flat, providing room for your baby’s skull to grow. The helmet also prevents your baby from lying on the flat spot.
Your baby will usually wear the helmet 23 hours a day, for 3 to 4 months. You will visit your healthcare provider every few weeks to have the helmet adjusted.
The best time to start using the helmet is when your baby is between 6 and 9 months old (before the bones in their head have joined together, or fused).
The cost of a corrective helmet isn’t covered by Alberta Health. Check with your extended healthcare plan or private insurance.
If you want to learn more about safe sleeping, tummy time, and preventing a flat area on your baby's head, there may be programs or free classes in your community. To find out more, call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: December 19, 2022
Author: Head Shape Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.