Starsiak shared an image of her 8-month-old Jack Richard sporting a dinosaur onesie and a helmet. The adorable photo thankfully did not capture the attention of mommy shamers or trolls, but a few concerned fans had questioned what exactly the helmet was.
While some assumed it was naturally due to a baby running around and simply for his safety, others corrected the conjecture and revealed it was in fact helmet therapy for flat head syndrome — or plagiocephaly — a common problem 1 in 5 babies experience, according to the U.K's National Health Service.
"Why does he have a helmet on?" one fan asked.
"Forgive me if someone has asked and you've answered about your little man's headgear?" another chimed in.
During the early days of Jack wearing the helmet, Starsiak had gone into detail of the reasoning via Instagram Stories on her account. However, it appears now not all her fans got the memo of her son's latest accessory.
Per studies and factoids from Healthline, flat head syndrome is a "condition that causes a baby's head to become misshapen, usually resulting with the flattening of one side of the back of their head."
While it is not life threatening or damaging to brain development, Stanford Children's Health explains how a newborn's skull is made up of plates that can move and it is the spaces between these plates that help an infant's skull become wide for brain growth. Because a baby has been cramped up ever so snug in a mother's womb for over nine months, it is common for the child's skull to experience pressure and develop a flat spot as it rests its head against the mother's pelvis.
Studies report that very mild cases of the syndrome can correct themselves with preventive steps and repositioning exercises. However, doctors encourage parents to provide a lot of tummy time for their infant as a way to strengthen their neck muscles. Severe cases doctors suggest might require corrective surgery or use of helmet therapy.
It might be hard to imagine a helmet doing such work, but John Hopkins Medicine details how the cranial remolding helmets can effectively assist in reshaping thanks in part to its hard outer shell with foam lining.
"Gentle, persistent pressures are applied to capture the natural growth of a baby's head while inhibiting growth in the prominent areas and allowing for growth in the flat regions," the report reads. "Adjustments are made frequently as your baby's head grows. The helmet essentially provides a tight, round space for the head to grow into. Even if your child continues to rest his or her head on one side, the helmet will provide a cushioning to prevent the head from further flattening."
One thing parents are concerned about is why there's such a rise in flat head syndrome lately. According to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Journal, doctors are seeing an increase in the number of cases of infants diagnosed with flat head syndrome since the start of the AAP "Back to Sleep" campaign — a movement in 1994 that helped reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which declined by 50 percent, but unfortunately sparked latent consequences.
Researchers reviewed data from the Texas Birth Defects Registry and recognized cases of flat head syndrome reported between 1999 and 2007, adding how during that time frame, the number of cases rose from 3 to 28.8 per 10,000 live births — an almost 10 fold increase.
Starsiak's son Jack isn't the only cute celebrity tot with the condition. This past winter, supermodel Chrissy Teigen also revealed that her 10-month-old son Miles with husband John Legend, has been wearing a special helmet designed to help with his own "adorable slightly misshapen head" too.
Teigen took to Twitter to let her fans know and that they shouldn't "feel bad for him" because it's helping him to fix his flat head, with the mom-of-two adding how he will be "even cuter with it."
Now that level of cuteness is definitely something we can all agree on!0comments
Starsiak returns this spring with her mother, Karen Laine to rebuild and revitalize the city of Indianapolis, Indiana one home at a time on the fourth season of Good Bones, which premieres May 14.
Photo credit: Instagram / @mina_starsiak_hawk