"Momfluencers" Force Babies Into "Skull Correction Helmets" to Get Perfect Shape of the Heads
Parents are obsessing over the “perfect” shaped skull.
Doctors in China, Taiwan, and Singapore are warning parents against the non-medical use of skull correction helmets or mouth tape with their babies and toddlers. Chinese "momfluencers" are reportedly extolling the benefits of helmets to encourage the "perfect" round shape for their babies' heads and the use of mouth tape while the babies are sleeping. The Chinese trend is now spreading across other Asian countries, and health authorities are concerned. Here's what is happening and why there is so much focus on head shapes.
Parents in Singapore are reportedly making their babies sleep with "correction" helmets on, and their mouths taped shut in order to mold their skulls into a perfectly round shape. "Flat" headed shapes are seen as undesirable, and these parents are doing whatever they can to prevent their babies from having the "wrong" shape of the head.
The trend began in China and has spread to Singapore and Taiwan. Because there is only a short window of time to use the helmets, parents are putting them on tiny babies to force their skulls into a specific shape. These parents are using helmets and mouth tapes purely for cosmetic reasons.
"Parents want to give their kids a better future. They want to make sure they don't lose at the starting line," one mother told a Shanghai magazine. "We started wearing the helmet a little bit late, but at least we still made some changes," said a Chinese online influencer who says her daughter wore a helmet. "If you are anxious about the shape of your child's head and it's still very young, go and get a free custom measurement."
Social media influencers are also touting the benefits of mouth tape to force babies to breathe through their noses rather than their mouths. They believe mouth-breathing will encourage facial structures that will retract chins and less prominent jaws. "If you discover that your child is breathing through their mouth, you must take action quickly," says a video on a Taiwanese internet shopping site about "mouth-closing correction tape." "This is because the golden period for development is while they are young and it would not be possible to correct the effects of mouth-breathing later."
Doctors are cautioning parents against using helmets and mouth tape. "It's risky because some children may breathe through the mouth because they have sinus issues that obstruct their nasal airways. So it's very important to be able to breathe through the mouth," says Dr. Louis Tan, a general practitioner at StarMed Specialist Centre.