About us: our history

Headstart4Babies’ founders Philip and Karen first encountered plagiocephaly in 2004 when Philip was feeding their son Ben, who was then four months old. Karen noticed that, looking from the top, Ben’s head seemed to have been twisted into a parallelogram shape, with a significant flat spot to one side of the back. They raised the issue with their GP, who suggested that it was nothing to worry about, that the condition would probably rectify itself when Ben started crawling, and that, if it didn’t, his hair would eventually cover any irregularity. Not content with this analysis, Philip and Karen pushed for an appointment with a consultant at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, only to be told that the consultant felt it inappropriate for him to see Ben in his clinic. Unsure of where to turn next, Philip and Karen had a stroke of luck – they met a mum at a local playgroup whose son was wearing a helmet. In conversation it emerged that this young boy had a condition called plagiocephaly and that he was being treated with a non-invasive helmet by a specialist in London.

Philip and Karen took the specialist’s details and emailed him some pictures of Ben’s head from different angles and he confirmed that Ben did indeed have plagiocephaly, that it may be severe, and that we should book an appointment. At the first appointment, Ben was diagnosed with severe plagiocephaly, and Philip and Karen took the emotional decision to put Ben in a helmet. At four and a half months, the chances of correction were very good, and Ben’s head shape corrected completely – to 0mm asymmetry – within just five and a half months.

Half way through Ben’s treatment, Karen and Philip decided that they had to do whatever they could to raise awareness of the condition and prevent as many families as possible from missing out on treatment. Since then they have given help and advice to over 1,700 families and raised enough funds to help more than 25 families on low incomes to proceed with treatment. With the support of Headstart4Babies’ two additional trustees – Sally Laflin and Rachel Meade – Philip and Karen remain committed to raising awareness of plagiocephaly and ensuring that fewer babies end up in helmets in the future.

Find out more about our objectives and our trustees.

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