• Fri, Jan 25 2013

I Want To Get My Infant Son A Helmet. No, Really

baby helmetWe sat at his 9-month-old “Well Baby” check-up with a brand new pediatrician. Our family had recently moved and I was just lining up doctors and dentists for our family. Hunter sat in my lap, impressing the doctor with his waving and clapping. He even managed to call me, “Mama,” and I beamed with pride at my little boy. I know it’s silly to feel like your child is “advanced” before they even reach their first birthday, but that doesn’t stop a mom from getting excited when all of those early benchmarks are so easily checked off.

Then, I placed Hunter on the ground so that he could give his grand finale. Without a warning, my little boy stood up and walked right across the room to the doctor. He practically jogged over, his hands out-stretched, ready to stiff arm anything that got in his way.

Nine months old and my son was a walking baby. The problem, however, was that he was also falling and hitting his head on a daily basis.

Why is it that babies always smash their heads in the same spot? Over and over again, he hits the top right-hand side of his forehead. At this point, I’m seriously worried about a concussion. How do you tell if an infant has a concussion? All they do is sleep and puke and seem slightly dizzy.

So when my son showed off his walking skills, I couldn’t help but look up at the doctor and ask, “Is there any way we could get him a helmet?” I was half-joking. Almost joking. The pediatrician chuckled as if it was super funny. I explained, “I never had this problem with my first. He’s just fearless. And I’m kind of concerned that he’ll give himself a concussion.” Again the chuckle. This time I really wasn’t joking. “No… seriously.”

With that paternal and slightly condescending tone that must be taught med school, our pediatrician assured me that my little guy wasn’t falling that far when he slipped and knocked his head on the floor. He said that unless Hunter was falling down the stairs, I really didn’t have to worry about a concussion. It wasn’t going to happen just from the bumps and bruises that come with a baby walking.

I listened to the doctor’s words and tried to assure myself that my little guy wasn’t going to knock himself unconscious. At the same time, in the back of my head, I was thinking about the helmet we almost bought to help with my son’s mild case of plagiocephaly. That’s where an infant’s head had a flat spot and it’s often treated with the use of an orthopedic helmet. Hunter’s case wasn’t serious, so we hadn’t gotten him the gear. Now, I was kind of wishing we had.

My first child was an early walker, too. By her first birthday, she could make her way across the room. But Hannah seemed a little more careful. She at least held on to furniture or used a toy for stability. With her, I was mindful, but I didn’t have nightmares about skull fractures.

Hunter is a completely different story. There’s just no hesitation. And he doesn’t even bother with toys that you’re supposed to walk behind and hold on to. The kid is a Lone Wolf! He doesn’t want any help.

My son might not need a helmet to keep him safe from head trauma, but the device would still have a medical purpose if we got one. It would bring my blood pressure down.

(Photo: Darren Brode/Shutterstock)

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  • DadCAMP

    Ugh.

    Worst invention ever, the Thudguard. I had one for my son, as a joke … http://www.dad-camp.com/2012/01/thudguard-helmets-for-toddlers/

  • Justme

    I’m not sure if this was written tongue-in-cheek, but if you can’t handle the weeble-wobble of a toddler, you might want to go ahead and invest in some Xanax and blood pressure meds as you send your child off into full on childhood.

    • SusannahJoy

      Of course this was written “tongue-in-cheek!” Although I have to ask, did you mean for your comment to sound as judgmental and superior as it does?

    • Justme

      Not judgmental and superior, but if having a toddler waddling around makes her so nervous and stressed how is she going to handle riding bikes, skateboards, going swimming, playing sports…you can’t bubble wrap your children.

  • Liz Grierson

    I’m laughing with you, since I KNOW you’re joking.

    Responsibility, yes. Reasonable precautions and safety, yes. Encapsulating your child so he can never get a bruise, no. Kid’s going to have to leave your sight one day, cross a street, pick up a pointy object, make an unwise purchase, eat something iffy, get a crush on a jerk, drive a car… To ready yourself for these things, you must start the progression of Not Being A Control Freak by letting him, I dunno… walk without a helmet.

    Unless the child has osteogenesis imperfecta or congenital analgesia, it’s only a parental anxiety disorder that would make you want to isolate and defend your special snowflake child against every normal non-hazardous hazard of life.

    That’s not you…. Right?

    • Blooming_Babies

      Lol eat something iffy… That’s hilarious

  • http://www.facebook.com/Kwhite1980 Kristina White

    I totally know what you mean. My son is fearless. He dives headfirst into every activity, and never slows down. I swear he honestly runs everywhere. He’s 4 now, and a bit steadier, but as a young toddler he terrified me! Falling constantly, huge knots and bruises all over his forehead, I work as a nursing assistant, and two days after we had an in-service learning about traumatic brain injuries he was pushing a train down the hallway fast and slammed his head into a cabinet. 4 staples later….lol it does get better, eventually. The doctors are right, it looks worse than it is normally. Its so hard:(

  • chickadee

    I also hope this was written tongue-in-cheek, but as long as you baby-proof for sharp edges on furniture and keep area rugs secured, your baby’s head should be fine. You might try Googling to reassure yourself, actually.

    The pediatrician’s manner may have rubbed you the wrong way, but I promise you that no doctor is going to open himself up to a lawsuit by offering inaccurate advice. He has a specialty in baby-medicine. He knows about baby-heads.

  • Laurie

    Happy to hear you have two healthy children who DON’T need to wear a helmet. Mine needed to wear one 23 hours a day due to craniosynostosis. It was not a fun experience for him nor for me. It was actually quite upsetting. So, again… glad to hear you don’t have to medically use this device and that you feel able to joke about it.

    • meg

      I’m glad YOU can type internet comments!! I have no hands. It’s a terrible medical condition and I’m adding this comment with an iPhone I operate with my mouth.*

      * Not intended to be a factual statement.

      (Moral of the story: Don’t turn a lighthearted story into a Woe-Off. Everyone is very sorry for your situation, but you sound ridiculous and self-involved.)

    • wadaw

      LOL

    • ImSoOffended

      Oh Jesus shut up. Go kill the bug that you have shoved up your butt immediately.

  • http://www.facebook.com/helen.donovan.31 Helen Donovan

    I suppose it is no longer PC but I swear by play-pens. Not only do some kids dive into things “headfirst” but almost all of them hit that stage in the day when they are tired but are still too young to realize it and don’t sit down; they just wander about, cranky and running into things (including walls). Play-pens are the perfect solution when the cranky wandering starts, particularly if you have a kids that does not like being constantly grabbed and held.

  • Shannon

    Obviously she’s trying to be funny, people need to chill out! What mom hasn’t had that cross her mind after picking up a baby who’s fallen for the fiftith time in a day. And o lord the looks you get when you take your baby out all brused up. I honestly don’t believe any of you guys criticizing have ever actually had an earlier walker. I have and it sucks to watch your baby hurt themselves. Give this mom a break!

  • Tea

    If he keeps being clumsy for too long, you might want to look into getting his eyes checked. Turns out the reason I was such a clumsy baby/toddler was because I had no depth perception and constant double-vision.

    Otherwise, he’ll be fine, you’ll be fine, and this gave me quite a chuckle.

  • Rush Miller

    There are different kinds of baby products available in the market that parent should prefer for their babies care and entertainment. Most probably baby products are made while keeping the safety of the baby in mind therefore parent are used to go for protective baby products to prevent their child from injuries or minor accidents.http://babyzcare.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/tips-to-choose-quality-baby-products/