How long do I splint for?

EarBuddies™ should be fitted when the cartilage of the ear is soft enough to be reshaped, and removed when the cartilage has hardened enough to permanently hold the new shape and position.

How long you splint for mostly depends on the age of baby when EarBuddies™ are fitted. As a general rule, the earlier splintage begins, the higher the chance of success and the shorter the time needed to correct the problem.

Why is it so important to splint early?

  1. The cartilage of the ear is softest and most flexible at birth and can be easily moulded. It naturally becomes progressively harder with age.
  2. Babies are less active in the first few weeks of life, and the skin sweats very little. In a newborn (once the birth coating has been cleaned off) the Adhesive Tapes usually stick for long enough – about two weeks - to ensure a perfect correction and avoid the need for future surgery.
  3. Because the cartilage hardens with age, an older baby's ears will take longer to "learn" the new shape than a newborn's ears, and so the splintage period will need to be longer. Older babies are also more dextrous and may be able to use their fingers to pull at the tapes holding the splint in place.
  4. As baby’s sweat glands and sebaceous glands develop, the Adhesive Tapes stick less well and it becomes increasingly important to keep the ears clean and dry to avoid the risk of inflammation due to trapped moisture.

Can we take the splints off for a day?

The splints are best worn 24 hours a day; they are made to be comfy, and your baby should be able to sleep on a splinted ear untroubled. However, you can remove them for a few hours for a special occasion, or if baby swims. If you do take the splints off, make sure you refit as soon as possible, as you can quickly lose the benefit of the correction, particularly early in the splintage.

Does Breastfeeding Affect Splintage Duration?

Breastfeeding keeps the cartilage softer for longer. If you have fitted EarBuddies™ before one month of age and Mum is breastfeeding, about 25% more splintage time may be required as the cartilage is slower to harden. After two months of age splintage times may be 10% shorter than stated below if Mum is breastfeeding because the cartilage will be slightly softer and more mouldable. This is not a reason to delay beginning splintage however, as the sooner you begin, the greater the likelihood of a good result. Breastfeeding is the best possible start for your baby and great for Mum too in very many ways.

Although every ear is different, below is a rough guide as to how long to splint for stick-out ears:

If EarBuddies™ are fitted at:
We recommend you splint for:
birth
2 weeks
2 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
4 weeks
6 weeks
6 weeks
2 months
2 months
3 months
3 months
6 months
4 months
9 months
5 months
Over 12 months
6 months

 

It is intended that you read between the lines in the table above to work out how long to splint for in each baby's case. If you have any doubt, we recommend you err on the side of caution, and splint for a little longer than recommended.

If, for any reason, you leave the splints off for a period of time, it would be prudent to add at least double the amount of time missed to the total length of the splintage period.

How do I monitor the progress?

Take photographs and measure the prominence (for stick out ears) - see details here.

How will I know when to take the splints off?

Splint for the recommended time – see above. When you remove the splints, take photographs and measure the prominence (for stick out ears) over the following 48 hours - see details here.

Could the ears start to lose the effect of the correction?

If the splints were applied correctly, and the period of splintage was long enough for the cartilage to "set" in the new controlled shape, the ear should remain permanently corrected. Although the cartilage has taken on a new shape, it is still quite soft at this young age, so take care to avoid anything which can reverse the improvement. Ears are commonly squashed and pushed forward during breastfeeding, by a mattress, or by the head cosies of car seats for example. Immediately upon removing the splints after the period of correction, take photographs and measurements (for stick out ears). You can then monitor the correction. If you feel the ears are starting to lose the effect of the correction, simply re-fit the splints.