seeds Germinating but not breaking out of seed

I've had a weird issue this year that I haven't had in the past - it seems like an awful lot of my pepper seedlings that germinated did this thing where they emerged, but then the cotyledon leaves never emerged from the seed. Some of them have seemed to stay like that for weeks, and others have just sort of rotted off just below the seed and then died. I've been seeing it with annuums, baccatums, and chinenses, and in some seed that was new and other seed that was a few years old, so I'm thinking it's something about the conditions rather than the seeds. Any thoughts on what could be causing this? Photos below are from seeds that were started back in February - I've already potted up the plants that were on a more normal schedule and these guys and others are still just hanging around like this, or the others that did this have died.

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To minimize the odds of dealing with "helmet heads" I make sure the seeds lay completely flat in the hole (about 1/4 inch deep) and right after covering them, I gently press the soil over them. Once they have sprouted, they must somehow turn on the side to reach the surface and the friction caused by the surronding soil helps to strip them of their shell. Works 99% of the times for me.
 
Had this issue with my seedlings a while ago, just do what said above or if you really want to remove the seed coat, drop a bit of water on helmet and wait few min and then slowly try to pull it of. but dont use to much force, be gentle.
 
That top photo is wild,almost like they are not peppers. I do not think keeping the seed wet is going to help that. The hypocotyl is swollen and no cotyledons develping. WTH?
 
worked for me, I freed 3 helmet heads with the water drop method a few weeks ago and they are strong seedlings now🔥🌶
 
That top photo is wild,almost like they are not peppers. I do not think keeping the seed wet is going to help that. The hypocotyl is swollen and no cotyledons develping. WTH?
Those are Red Mushroom from Territorial - it's actually kinda weird - I planted 5 cells of those, and the other 4 had no problems whatsoever and are potted up and growing great, and that cell has the three weird swollen helmet heads.
 
In addition to all the advice above, try planting the seeds a little deeper. The sprout has to travel farther to the surface which increases the chance that the additional friction will remove the seed-coat.
Thanks - thinking back on it I do think I was planted a little shallower than usual this year. Will experiment with water to try to soften the helmets to get them to pop off.
 
I use a piece of tape. Gently put a piece of tape on the side of the seed shell, and the other end to the edge of the pot and carefully have the
seedling leading towards the edge of the pot. As it grows, it'll pull itself out of the shell.

**EDIT** Missing words.
 
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Thanks - thinking back on it I do think I was planted a little shallower than usual this year. Will experiment with water to try to soften the helmets to get them to pop off.
A technique otherwise known as "Chinese water torture"!
 
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