A MOTHER of a young baby who has to wear a helmet to remould her mis-shapen head, wants to raise awareness of the increasingly common condition which is not treated on the NHS.
Lorna Martin, of London Road, Johns Cross, noticed a problem with daughter Rosie Newington’s head when she was just one month old.
Lorna said: “I noticed her head looked out of shape and not like a normal baby should be.
“I thought nothing of it, but I mentioned it to the health visitor a while later and she said it looked like flat head syndrome.”
Because newborn babies have malleable skulls, the shape can be affected by external forces.
Flat head syndrome, or positional plagiocephaly, is often caused by a baby being left to lay in the same position in their cot.
Mum of three Lorna, like many other mothers, was not previously aware of the condition.
Rosie was having trouble lifting her head off the floor when she lay on her tummy, and had trouble turning on her side.
She was referred for physiotherapy, but Lorna says it did not help.
She said: “The doctor said there’s no treatment available for it, so I started taking her to the cranial osteopath to do work on her shoulder to help her turn her head.”
Through speaking to other mums and carrying out her own research, Lorna found out about a special helmet, which would help return Rosie’s head to its original shape.
Lorna said: “It will push it back round and make her head more rounded, so she would not have the bulge out the side of her head.
“One side is really flat and it bulges out on one side.
“It puts pressure on, but it does not hurt.”
If untreated, flat head syndrome can cause spinal problems and headaches.
Lorna has to visit the London Orthotic Consultancy, a clinic in Kingston, every two weeks so they can check on Rosie’s progress and adjust the helmet to ensure it still fits properly.
Rosie, now aged seven months, got her helmet about a month ago and will have to wear it for about six months.
This will cost the family £2,000, which is being paid off instalments, as the treatment is not available on the National Health Service.
Lorna said: “I’m just very disappointed the NHS won’t help.
“I do not understand why it cannot be treated when there are other things they do, like pinning people’s ears back.
“It will change a baby’s life.”
The helmet is made specially for each baby by using a 3D scan and cannot be reused.
Lorna plans to take a petition to 10 Downing Street at a later date in a bid to get the NHS to fund the treatment.
Meanwhile, the local community in Mountfield has rallied round to raise funds to help pay for Rosie’s helmet.
A clay pigeon shoot raised £230 and a coffee morning held in Hoath Hill, Mountfield, on Tuesday raised a further £645.50.
Other fundraising events are in the pipeline, including a fundraising event at the Johns Cross pub.
Lorna said: “The people of Mountfield have been so kind.
“They have been organising it all for me.
“My nan has been doing a lot and Jillian (Child) has done so much organising.
“The support has been lovely.”
Lorna also thanked shops in Robertsbridge and Battle for donating raffle prizes, the White Hart pub at Netherfield, the Johns Cross pub and all friends and family who have helped in raising the funds.
Details about future fundraising events will appear in the Observer.