This trio may only be a few months old, but they’ve already made medical history.
May 19, 2017
No, triplets Hunter, Jackson, and Kaden Howard aren’t making a fashion statement. The plastic helmets these tiny tykes are wearing serve an important purpose.
These boys are the first known case of newborn triplets with craniosynostosis, a condition in which the bones in the skull fuse together too early. Doctors noticed something was different with the triplets within days of their birth when the boys’ skulls appeared misshapen.
In January, just 11 weeks after their birth, the trio underwent laparoscopic surgery at Stony Brook Hospital to help correct the defect.
Dr. David Chesler, the assistant professor of neurosurgery at Stony Brook, said what made the case special was that the condition affected all three boys. This rare birth defect occurs once in every 2,500 births, but Chesler estimates that the odds of this skull condition happening to triplets is closer to one in 500 trillion.
Still, the boys have proven themselves to be fighters and they’ve been given a good prognosis from Chesler and his team.
Hunter, Jackson, and Kaden Howard. Photo by Amy Howard.
“They’re making all of their developmental milestones,” the doctor told PEOPLE. “Aside from the helmets you wouldn’t know there’s a problem. Overall, they’re happy, well-adjusted babies.”
The triplets must wear the helmets 23 hours a day, seven days a week for the next few months to ensure their skulls heal properly, but their doctor gives them a great prognosis.
“Overall, they’re happy, well-adjusted babies,” Chesler said. Their parents couldn’t agree more.
Their mother, Amy Howard, said the difference is “amazing” as they’ve adjusted to the helmets and basically molded their heads back to normal while her husband, Michael, said the support the family has received from friends and their community during the whole ordeal has been the greatest gift.
“We’ve been blessed throughout this whole thing.”