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news News Monday, January 21, 2019 Monday, January 21, 2019 1:36 PM - Monday, January 21, 2019 1:36 PM

Triplets with plagiocephaly receive cranial molding helmets through Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis

Triplets with plagiocephaly receive cranial molding helmets through Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis

In the early 1990s, medical professionals began encouraging parents to keep infants on their backs while they slept in order to reduce the possibility of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). While this method was effective in greatly reducing the number of infant deaths from suffocation, it saw a rise in plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome. Infant heads are very soft, and laying on their backs can create flat spots on their heads.

Though plagiocephaly is very common in the United States, many insurance companies consider treatment as cosmetic and do not cover the cost of a cranial molding helmet. These helmets can cost up to $4,000. The window for fitting infants with a helmet is short. Most children need a fitting before they are 1. 

For Sadie and Nick Sharp, finding out they were having triplets was a huge blessing. When they found out that Oscar, Patrick and Hunter all had plagiocephaly, which is very common in multiple births, they reached out to a children’s hospital. Staff from the hospital informed them that they would have to place a down payment on the helmets, and that their insurance company considers them cosmetic. The total cost would be $12,000.

Sadie, a former Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis patient, consulted her mother, who remembered seeing pictures of babies wearing helmets when they would visit the hospital for appointments. They called the St. Louis Shriners Hospital and all three boys were accepted as patients. Though the drive from Canton, Missouri, with three babies was a bit tedious, the Sharps are very pleased with the care their children have received. “One thing about coming in to Shriners Hospitals is that every single person loves children,” Sadie said. “It really makes a difference.”

Plagiocephaly signs to look for:

  • Lack of hair in one spot
  • Uneven ears
  • Flattened area on back, side or front of head
  • Slanted head appearance

If you think your child might have plagiocephaly, make an appointment with one of our specialists today by calling 1-800-850-2960.