Parents are buying helmetlike molds to make their babies' skulls rounder, reports say.
This is because perfectly round heads are viewed as the beauty standard in China.
Other "head-correcting" products, from sleeping mats to special pillows, are also being snapped up.
China's latest craze involves parents shelling out for helmets that they believe can help mold their babies' heads into ideal, rounded shapes.
A report by Tencent News said the trend of putting corrective molds on babies' heads started this October, with parents flocking to stores to buy helmets for their children. These helmets resemble bowling balls and are supposedly catered to babies whose heads are flatter in the back. They involve the mold being strapped onto a child's head for extended hours, with the belief that this can help shape their soft, still-developing skulls into a more aesthetically pleasing, rounded shape, per the country's beauty standards.
The South China Morning Post highlighted one particular account of a mother who made a post on the Quora-like forum Xiaohongshu, detailing the use of a piece of "miracle" equipment she found that she said helped "correct a baby's head shape." Titled "I took my baby to head-shape correction, despite my family's protests," the mother recounted the process of how she brought her 7-month-old daughter to a medical facility to get "head correction gear" custom-made for her.
"I think wearing a head helmet has the same function as wearing braces, which is to correct a body part and make it more beautiful," the unnamed woman wrote in the now deleted post. "I have a flat head, and I know how painful it is for women who are chasing beauty. I don't want my kid to grow up and regret this part of herself."
It's unknown how much this woman paid for her baby's head mold, but the Chinese news site Sohu reported that such devices can cost about $4,300.
Separately, the Alibaba-owned shopping portal Taobao, China's answer to Amazon, sells a variety of head-correction devices for babies. These range from $20 head-shape-correcting pillows to $3 versions of the head-correction helmets to $15 sleeping mats to prevent infants from sleeping in ways that might "cause a flat head."
The desire to have a round head has spread to social-media users on Weibo, the country's version of Twitter, who have started sharing tips and tricks on how to "say goodbye to a flat head," referencing methods to style one's hair differently to create the appearance of a perfectly round head.
A Weibo trending topic (akin to a subreddit) called "How flat can one's head get" has spawned some 32,000 comment threads discussing how to "correct" or conceal one's head shape. Some Weibo users even referenced the K-pop star Jeon Jungkook of BTS fame, remarking on his coveted round head shape. Others discussed how to make their children's heads rounder, and they shared progress photos of various head-shape-correcting methods.
"Look at my flat head. I asked my mother if it's because she made me sleep on my back to make my head flat on purpose. It looks like the back of my head got chopped off," wrote a Weibo user with the ID LiLvTingShiGeXiaoTianCai.
"Your head shape determines your attractiveness. Give your children a good start and correct their head bones while you can," wrote the Weibo user DADD DaMin.
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