Carlton mum advising would-be parents on flat head syndrome after son makes full recovery
A MUM-OF-TWO whose first child developed a flat head shortly after birth is now advising would-be parents around the globe on how to avoid the condition.
Plagiocephaly is the medical name for the what Aileen Sergent's first child Loki suffered from, and it left him with a flat spot on his head, which if left untreated could have affected his speech, sight and ability to learn.
After birth a baby's skull is very soft and can be forced to grow in different directions fairly easily.
When the skull is kept in one particular position for long periods – because the baby is sleeping in a set position, such as on its back – areas of the skull may be squashed or pulled flat.
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Mrs Sergent, from Carlton, sought medical help and even contacted experts in America to explore the best ways to stop plagiocephaly from developing.
"I had never come across the condition before I had Loki and I remember it being quite a worrying thing. It is completely preventable and it all about the positioning of the baby," she said.
The 33-year-old full-time mum contacted a Dr Jane Scott in the United States who had invented a special hat specifically designed to prevent plagiocephaly. They look like a beanie hat, but offer support while the baby is lying in the cot.
Now Dr Scott has included Mrs Sergent as a one of the experts on a web forum where she answers questions about the condition to worried parents.
And the Carlton resident – who has since had a second child, Obi, who does not suffer from the condition – will speak next month at a medical seminar at Great Ormond Street Hospital about her experiences of plagiocephaly.
She said: "Because I was aware of it and acted quickly Loki's head had completely corrected itself now and it is no longer a problem.
"But first-time parents need to be made aware of this condition as it can be easily prevented. Things to avoid include leaving your baby in the same position for too long or repeatedly."
In order to correct the flatness, Loki had to wear a special helmet for 23 hours a day for four months.
Mrs Sergent and her husband Nathan, had to pay privately to get this helmet as it was not available on the NHS and it cost the couple £2,000.
But she said she would have used the hat to prevent it in the first place if she had been aware of it.
The couple set up a online petition to try and get the condition treated on the NHS, which accrued over 160 signatures, but the policy has not yet been changed.
Her second child Obi, who was born in November last year, has not suffered from signs of the condition and Mrs Sergent puts this down the fact that she purchased one of Dr Scott's special hats, known as a Tortle.