At this point, you have probably seen an adorable baby wearing a white helmet when you have been out and about. This helpful helmet is called a DOC Band, and my 6 month old little guy is currently sporting one. Whether you are curious what it is for, or you think your child might need one, I hope I can shed some light on this topic.
What is the DOC band for?
The DOC band helps treat Plagiocephaly, “flat head syndrome.” This shows in 3 abnormal head shapes and can range from mild to severe. It can be caused by positioning in the womb, premature birth, torticollis (head tilt), baby carriers, and back sleeping.
Plagiocephaly can be treated in a short amount of time. Most babies will wear the band 1-3.5 months based on age, growth rate and severity. Early intervention will help decrease treatment time so the quicker you decide and treat the better it is.
Do you have to get the DOC Band?
There are stretches and interventions your doctor or the staff at Cranial Technologies can show you to help before a DOC Band is used. However, moderate to severe Plagiocephaly will most likely not self correct.
Using a DOC Band won’t just treat appearances but it will help with skull abnormalities that could have an impact later in life.
How do you know if your baby might need a DOC Band?
During your baby’s routine checkups at the doctor, their head is typically examined. It was brought to our attention by our doctor at our 2 month appointment, that our son’s head shape was a little off.
Our son favored turning his head to one side and it was throwing off the shape. We needed to try and get him to turn the other way as much as possible and that they would check back in at our 4 month appointment. At the 4 month appointment, we were referred to Cranial Technologies for an evaluation and the doctor wrote a prescription for a DOC Band.
What happens after the referral?
We set up a consultation appointment. They took 3D images of his head and went over the results with us in the same 30 minute visit and recommended treatment. An insurance liaison then reached out to us about coverage. If you choose to get a DOC Band they will set up a measurement appointment as soon as possible.
At the measurement appointment a bunch more detailed pictures were taken of his head. The DOC band took about two weeks to make.
What is getting fitted for the band like?
At this hour long appointment, your baby is fitted with the band and they make sure it fits if any adjustments need to be made. They go over all care information with you and teach you how to put on the band, take off the band, and check for red spots or irritations that don’t go away quickly after removal.
Depending on age, the baby will have biweekly appoints to monitor their progress. They will shave off inside parts of the helmet to allow for continued growth in the right areas. These are very quick and low key appointments.
Graduation from the DOC Band
At your final appointment more 3D images will be taken to show the improvement of the head. It is rare, but 15% of parents based on a clinician’s recommendation, will go on to get a second band.
My personal responses to frequently asked questions:
Not my little guy. It didn’t seem to phase him at all. It is hypoallergenic and designed to try and keep the baby cool. It made him a tiny bit top heavy but didn’t slow down any milestone like sitting up, rolling, or army crawling.
Does it make your baby hot?
It does keep in some body heat so I do keep that in mind when dressing my baby. You are told to take the helmet off for a fever of 102 and higher.
How many hours out of the day does the baby wear the helmet?
It is worn for 23 hours out of the day. We usually give him a break at night before bed and in the morning after he gets up that adds up to that hour. This also includes time off at swim lessons and baths.
What sort of daily upkeep do you have to do?
We wipe his helmet down with 70% rubbing alcohol once or twice a day. We wipe his head down each day he doesn’t get a bath to help keep him clean and comfortable.
Does it affect hair growth?
Not for my little guy. It almost seemed to increase his hair growth.
Is it expensive?
Most likely yes, unless you have great insurance that covers a lot. We paid for everything out of pocket and it cost $1,800. Some people also pay for it to be decorated while some find local non-profits who donate decorating services.
Would you recommend a DOC Band ?
That’s hard for me to say because each child and situation is different. I do recommend talking to your doctor and at least getting a referral and seeing what is covered if you are worried. I love Cranial Technologies and trust them to treat my son.
Please feel free to leave any comments or questions on this topic and I will do my best to answer them for you. Otherwise, Cranial Technologies has a great website with way more knowledge and expertise on the topic at www.cranialtech.com.