UK introduction of medical pillows that prevent the need for corrective treatment
Norman Waterhouse, a leading London-based consultant plastic surgeon and Craniofacial Surgeon at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, today addressed plagiocephaly, or flattened-skull syndrome in babies, which is on the rise in the UK. He revealed a simple, affordable, and ‘DIY’ solution for parents, recommending the use of pillows designed to provide special support in the first year of life.
Worldwide studies of Cot Death in the last decade have demonstrated that babies are safer sleeping on their backs. While this continues to be the case, it has resulted in an increased number of babies with flattened skulls. It is estimated that almost half of all children under one year suffer some degree of positional plagiocephaly, which can give a misshapen look – even causing the ears or eyes to become misaligned.
The NHS and health insurance companies consider it to be a ‘cosmetic’ issue, and therefore do not offer corrective treatments. In the more severe cases, remedy involves the constant wearing of a plastic helmet, which moulds the head back into a normal shape, and can cost over £2,000.
According to Norman Waterhouse, former President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and Specialist Tutor in Aesthetic Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons:?"I see many babies in my practice with some degree of flattened skulls. With early recognition, this problem could be reduced by simple measures –such as special pillows designed to support infants’ heads in the first six months of life. This would reduce the need for more complex treatments such as moulding helmets.”
Specially created pillows, such as the Swedish Goi-Goi range, were developed to prevent babies head from flattening by providing the appropriate head and neck support to very young infants and children. They have been widely and effectively used (especially in maternity wards) in Sweden since their introduction in the year 2000 – when the Department of Health recommended all babies use them to prevent plagiocephaly. Baby pillows are now used as standard practise throughout the country, which has the third lowest rate of cot death in the world, (nearly half that of the UK) and are recommended by Paediatricians, Health Visitors and Midwives.
The Goi Goi range was introduced to the UK by Anna Akerlund, whose daughter Joella’s plagiocephaly was corrected by the use of the Swedish pillows.
According to Anna Akerlund: "After seeing the difference the baby pillow made to Joella’s head, I did some research and found quite a bit of information about flat and distorted heads and the Swedish approach to preventing it by using the baby pillow. I saw this as an opportunity to introduce them to the UK to help other little ones with the same problem.”
According to Norman Waterhouse:
“There is not enough education on this subject. Many parents are told to ignore the problem, and that it will go away on its own. This is not always the case. I believe that better understanding of the condition will help Paediaticians and General Practitioners to advise parents appropriately and offer simple strategies for prevention and improvement.”
The pillows are available in both crib and cot size, and are made in 100% polyester fibre with anti-allergens, with a 100% cotton cover. They retail for less than £15 and can be ordered online via their secure web site: http://lillakuddisbabypillows.co.uk/
(Neither The Aesthetic Surgeons or Norman Waterhouse has financial interest in any company or product relating to this issue.)