Everyone in This Texas Family Wears a Helmet in Adorable Show of Support for Baby with Flat Head Syndrome
After their 4-month-old son developed flat head syndrome, this family banded together to turn it into a more positive experience
Gary and Shayna Gutierrez recently received a special helmet to help reshape their infant son’s head after he developed a severe case of plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome. But the family didn’t expect that they, too, would be wearing helmets, thanks to a sweet idea from their daughter.
Four-month-old Jonas of San Antonio, Texas, was born with an oversized head that caused him to lay on the same area of his skull while he slept. This led to him developing a flat spot on his head, which is common in infants but is treatable with specialized helmets. It affects about half of babies in their first year of life, but doesn’t cause significant medical ramifications and is primarily an aesthetic condition.
“I think the start of it was that he was a really good sleeper during those first few weeks,” Shayna tells PEOPLE. “He slept a lot, and with the growth and weight of his head, he settled on that one spot.”
Even though the parents took preventative measures, like giving him tummy time, Jonas slept so much that plagiocephaly occurred, despite their efforts.
When the parents returned home with a helmet for Jonas, their 3-year-old daughter, Camila, felt that her baby brother would feel singled-out if he was the only one with a helmet. So, she had an idea: Why doesn’t the whole family wear them?
“We told her that Jonas had a helmet to fix his head, and she knew the word helmet and said, ‘Hey, I have a helmet, and dad has a helmet!’ ” Shayna says. “So she got them out of the closet and put them on.”
Then Shayna snapped this adorable photograph of the family in their kitchen:
Gary’s cousin, writer Shea Serrano, tweeted a picture of the Gutierrez family in helmets to his more than 150,000 followers—and it got quite the response. It especially resonated with parents of other proud helmet-wearers, and they tweeted their own pictures:
Shayna says that the amount of attention that has come their way has been fun, but she wants to thank friends and family for supporting them.
“Parenting and life, in general, is beautiful, but it’s hard and challenging,” she says. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without our community. We’re fortunate Jonas’ helmet is something that hardly affects our day-to-day lives, but there are other families dealing with a range of issues that kids could have.”
Doctors say Jonas will have to wear his helmet for three to six months to reshape his head. Thanks to the Gutierrez family’s ability to embrace its presence, those months seem like they are going to fly right by.
“Any time Camila goes up to him with her little helmet, he beams,” Shayna says.