Helmet drama

Everything was going so well.  He didn’t seem bothered by it all.  Slept fine in it and it was like it wasn’t even there.  Until Monday.

Sunday was the first day of 23 hours of wear.  Throughout the night on Sunday Max had a really hard time sleeping (more so than usual), and when we got up Monday I knew why.  His bed had a wet spot where his head was.  His head was oozing something.  I took his helmet off and I was absolutely horrified by what I saw.  His whole head was bright red, swollen and covered in smelly ooze that had turned into a brown crust along the edges of the helmet.  Once I got the helmet off he was fine.  I called my mom and told her what I saw and she told me to call the pediatric advice line.  Well I did and after 30+ minutes on hold, not speaking to anyone, I hung up and decided to just take him to the E.R.

*WARNING*: Kind of sad/graphic photo.  Yes, I took pictures.  Just in case the orthotist wanted to see what his head looked like.  I decided to post only one of what his head looked like.  The other was pretty disturbing.  He was looking a little Freddie Kreuger-ish, but you get the idea from this photo.

The right side of his face was really swollen, as you can see.

We were seen in the E.R. pretty quickly.  They sent us to the pediatric urgent care to see a doctor.  We waited there for an hour.  Yep I brought the camera.

Rob had him belly laughing while waiting for the doctor.

There were a few kids ahead him, but the nurse came out and asked his name and moved him up in line, very nice of her.  Once the doctor came in he had fallen asleep and cried when he was woken up.  That was the only time he cried the whole day.  She told us what we kind of already knew, he had an allergic reaction.  This was the one thing I was so afraid of when I was pregnant.  I didn’t want him to have horribly sensitive skin like me.  She said leave the helmet off (obviously), and give him Benadryl if he seems uncomfortable.  So there it is, our first emergency room visit as parents.  Hopefully there won’t be too many more of those in the future.

I spoke with the orthotist today and we’re keeping our appointment with him on Monday (which was supposed to be for an adjustment) and he’s going to fashion a sort of sock for his head.  He said in the thousand kids he’s put helmets on, Max is the third to have a reaction like this.  I’m worried about putting the helmet back on him.  I don’t want to hurt him anymore.  I can’t help but think if this was his body’s way of saying “Hey!  Don’t do this!”.  This is hard.  I just don’t want him to have another reaction if we put the helmet back on.

His head is looking better and better.  I’ve just been wiping it down with a cool washcloth.  I’m kind of glad he’s not in the helmet right now because this heat is way too much.

On a lighter note his second tooth came in two days after the first one.  So now when he’s being cute and grabbing your finger to put it in his mouth, beware.  Those suckers hurt.

Now I will leave you with a napping Max with his hiney in the air:


5 thoughts on “Helmet drama

  1. I wish I had seen this first before the other post. As I said in my last comment my son got a rash. It was red and raw and just nasty. I swear my son is allergic to his own sweat. Anyways, we struggled for a while. They told me I wasn’t cleaning the helmet well enough so they cleaned it. It still gave him a rash. They shaved it they saw him every week for a while. I kept begging them to put something in there. Finally they tried mole skin in the helmet and it helped. I don’t know why. I guess it soaked up his sweat and kept his head dry. Anyways, suggest that at your next appointment and see what they say. Good luck!

  2. No problem. I know when we went through it they said they had never seen it. They actually had to call a different office to discuss what to do. And with him having to be out of it for so long because every time the rash cleared up and we put it back on it came right back with a vengeance I hoped to prevent that for someone else ;). That was why he had to get into a 2nd helmet when I had originally hoped would have been off by his 1st birthday.

  3. Hi, I know this is a very old blog post but Google brought me here. My 8 month old boy has a Plagiocephaly helmet and woke up JUST LIKE THIS today. Stinky, red, yellow, crusty and I’m so sad. Yes, helmet off and we’re keeping him clean. We go see the orthotist again soon. My questions for you – did the ” sock” fix the problem? What was it made of? Or did you have to have a new helmet made with a different lining? What exactly is it an allergy TO?!

    Right now a I’m scared of ever putting that thing back on his head. He looked AWFUL thismorningand still looks bad, my poor boy. He’s cheerful, but we’re so worried! and like you,I have crazy sensitive skin I was praying he would’nt get. :+(

    I so appreciate any insight or help you can offer. Thank you.


    • Oh Beth, I’m so sorry you and your son are having to deal with this! The sock totally fixed the problem. It was basically a white cotton beanie of sorts. The allergy had nothing to with the contents of the helmet itself. It was moisture build up (sweat) between his head and the helmet. I get that when I don’t fully dry my hands underneath my wedding rings. Thankfully it cleared up super quick after we kept the helmet off for a few days.

      I was terrified to put it back on too. I felt so guilty for putting my baby through that. But in looking back he was TOTALLY fine. He never even cried about it! And after we got the sock everything went swimmingly.

      When you go to the orthotist make sure you get two socks so you can have a clean one while one is washing. I hope this gives you some peace of mind:) Good luck to you and your family!

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