The halo device gets its name from the metal ring that surrounds the child’s head, which looks like an angel halo. The ring – which keeps the head fixed in a level, forward-facing position – is attached to the head with small pins that hold it in place.
To keep the halo from moving in any direction, vertical rods connect it to the child’s shoulders, where it is fastened to a vest. The vest (usually made of plastic or plaster, like a cast), wraps around the neck, over the shoulders and down to the belly button. It is lined with soft material to make it more comfortable and prevent skin irritations. When properly fitted, a halo brace keeps the child's head and neck completely still, even during movement.
While the Halo may look painful, it should not cause any pain to the head, neck or shoulders. Some kids do experience a little forehead pain or a headache, particularly while eating, but this usually goes away soon after he or she has become used to wearing it.
If the pain continues or gets more severe, the pins that secure the halo might need to be adjusted. Never attempt to adjust the pins or rods on your own, or to remove the vest. If your child is experiencing pain or discomfort, call the doctor right away. Also seek medical care if the area around the pins (or anywhere else) becomes red, swollen or irritated.