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Babies Can Rock Adorable Medical Helmets, Thanks to This Mom

Baby Jeanne Sager Mar 10, 2017

baby medical helmets
Paula Strawn

Paula Strawn likes to tell people she has the happiest job in the world. For the past 13 years, the Washington artist has spent her days painting baby helmets, the stark white cranial orthotics typically sported by kids with plagiocephaly, a common disorder that causes a portion of a child's head the flatten. Out of the box, the helmets look distinctly medical, and people are prone to staring.

But when the owner of Lazardo Art gets done with them, babies are transformed into little aviators, Captain America, mini firefighters, and so much more.

"It's a conversation starter in a positive way," Strawn says. "Your baby gets smiles instead of stares in public. No baby needs looks of pity. They need smiles!"

Strawn says the best part of her happy job is knowing she can help make babies' worlds more smiley.

1The Blank Canvas

Strawn starts every project with the basic white helmet given by doctors to a child's parents. She works with moms and dads to create a plan for what they want their helmet to look like, accepting invites to Pinterest boards, sitting with them in her Washington state living room, or chatting long-distance via email or phone. 

2Going Camping

Strawn works Monday through Saturday, and each helmet takes about a day to finish. The helmets can't be off the child's head for too long, she explains, which is why she pushes herself to get them done. And she always asks parents to send her photos of what they look like on the baby. 

4Itty Bitty Aviator

Designing a helmet becomes like therapy for parents after they get the news that their perfect baby has something "wrong" with him or her, Strawn says. "If they're not super sad and crying on my couch, they're still not crazy about this." But as they work through colors and ideas with her, Strawn says parents become increasingly excited about seeing "their helmet" show up on their doorstep. And as you can see by the little faces, the kids have big smiles! 

5Harry Potter Head

Parents learn about Strawn in myriad ways -- she's got flyers in doctors' offices, but there's an increasing word of mouth. She's gotten calls from around the globe, but prefers to do work for American parents simply because of customs issues that hold up the return of helmets to kids outside of the states. Unfortunately she can't just owl them out like Harry Potter!

7Starry, Starry Night

As an artist, Strawn said she fell into helmet painting because of one of her four children's teachers. The teacher's grandchild had a helmet, and she asked Strawn to make it prettier. Soon a business was born.

8Fighting Fire

These kids will have fun photos of themselves to look back on! 

10Captain America

Little superheroes abound once Strawn gets hold of their helmets!

11Twins

Sometimes Strawn gets to do double duty for a family, like she did with these sweet twins.

13The Name's the Thing

Some parents choose to put a name across the front. 

15The Force Is Strong

Strawn has a few limits on what she won't paint on a helmet ... baby hair looks strange, she says, and although Darth Vader is a popular ask, the black grill at the front of his mask doesn't translate well to helmet painting. There are still other Star Wars options, however!

More from CafeMom: 17 Stunning Images of Newborn Babies Straight Out of the Womb

16Winter Is Coming

Babies may not watch much Game of Thrones, but moms and dads do!

17From the Front

This little Jedi shows off the front of his helmet. 

19Front and Back

Some parents choose a quote to inspire them.

20Who's There?

The owl trend that's popular in baby nurseries extends to their helmets too! 

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