Medical experts in Singapore are raising the alarm amid the growing popularity of “correction helmets” for children due to the endorsements of “momfluencers” on social media.
Content creators focusing on parenting and childcare have reportedly been urging their audience to use helmets on their children to mold their heads to create more roundness and to wrap up their children’s mouths with “correction tape” to prevent crooked teeth.
Fitting an infant with a special helmet to correct the shape of the skull is called helmet molding therapy, or cranial orthosis. This type of treatment, which must be prescribed by a licensed physician, is applicable for conditions such as deformational plagiocephaly, brachycephaly and dolichocephaly.
However, the trend of molding children’s heads solely for aesthetic purposes first emerged in China, where it is a common belief that a round head makes a person more attractive. For some Weibo users, BTS member Jeon Jungkook’s round head is purportedly the ideal shape.
The trend has reached Singapore, where influencers have been promoting products that offer solutions to a range of “physical imperfections,” such as having a flat head and crooked teeth.
The use of tape in the mouth is based on the belief that breathing through the mouth while sleeping can hold back jaw development and lead to crooked teeth in children. It is also believed by some that breathing through the mouth during sleep may cause long and narrow head structures with retracted chins and less prominent jaws.
Promotional videos for “mouth-closing correction tape” products urge buyers to immediately take action once their children start breathing through their mouths as it is purportedly only corrected while they are young.
Alarmed by the growing trend, Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has warned consumers against buying any of these products from the internet. Doctors are also cautioning parents against the use of “correction tape” that the influencers say must wrap children’s mouths when they are asleep.
“It’s risky because some children may breathe through the mouth because they have sinus issues that obstruct their nasal airways,” StarMed Specialist Centre’s Dr. Louis Tan was quoted by CNA as saying. “So it’s very important to be able to breathe through the mouth.”
Featured Image via Peggy Lee