Painting your child's DOC Band helmet is quite possibly the only fun thing about having your child in a helmet. You can express yourself creatively and give people something positive to see when they notice your child's helmet, rather than just seeing the helmet.
The first thing I recommend is putting a primer on the helmet. We didn't do this with the first one, and had a lot of trouble with peeling. You aren't allowed to sand the helmet, so you can't improve adhesion without a primer. We did use a primer with the second, and while we still had some peeling of the paint, it was not as severe, and we had to do fewer touchups.
You can use paint or stickers, or just about anything that won't interfere with the purpose of the helmet to decorate it. The key thing to remember is that if it is at all possible you want the helmet to only be off your baby's head for an hour a day. This means everything you use must dry rapidly! You also have to work fast.
We went to a local craft store and bought a variety of latex paints in small bottles, along with some small paint brushes. For our son's first DOC band helmet, we chose to do handprints. My husband first though to do our son's handprints with red paint, which we quickly determined was a mistake. They looked bloody! So make sure you think through what colors you use. We had to paint over those handprints and redo the job.
We also used a topcoat of interior varnish to make the paint more resistant to scratching. It's very easy to mistakenly grab a varnish that will take hours to dry, so be careful! We bought Delta Ceramcoat Satin Interior Varnish, which nominally dries enough for a second coat in 10 minutes. Takes longer than that for it to stop being tacky, but it is mostly dry in that time.
We used stencils for our son's second DOC Band, and created a space themed helmet. We got all kinds of guesses for what we were calling it; space case, Harry Potter, astronaut and so forth. Astronaut was probably nearest, but really we just liked the space theme.
I found some paint pens at WalMart, which were very nice for writing on the helmet. We never put his name on it, as some parents do, but if you want to write on it, paint pens are much easier to write with than paint brushes!
It's really fun getting creative with the DOC Band helmets. There's quite a bit you can do, and it really improves how people look at your child during therapy. The folks in the therapist's office loved it too!
If you want to see more helmet pictures, check out Cranial Tech's website.
The DOC Band® Helmet
This is what does the shaping of your baby's head after the surgery. Believe it or not, my son missed it once it was gone.
Head Casting Pictures
Watching my son get his head cast was so hard yet so fascinating! You never know if your child will be calm about the process or not.
Finishing Craniosynostosis Treatment
At last! It's all done and your baby's head looks great! Well, you might not be as done as you think. Followups can last a while.
Copyright © 2003-2018 Stephanie Foster unless otherwise indicated
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