To allow the brain to grow, the bones of the baby’s skull at birth are not yet fused. At their junction, on the midline, they leave two small spaces, one anterior, the other posterior, devoid of bone structure, and only covered by skin. Those are the fontanelles. They form two small, soft-bottomed depressions that will slowly shrink as the skull grows.
Anterior and posterior fontanelles
- Located on the top of the skull, behind the forehead, the fontanel previous, the larger of the two, is diamond-shaped. It closes completely around 2 years old.
- The posterior fontanel, at the back of the skull, above the nape, is smaller and closes around 3 months.
These fontanelles give an impression of fragility because they are very flexible, even soft. But it is more the anterior fontanel that worries parents because it is more showy and larger, and they sometimes have the impression of having “their baby’s brain under the skin”!
An area of the skull that is more resistant than you think
However, this part of the skull is much less fragile and more resistant than you think. So you can gently wash and soap your baby’s head. without fear and also withdraw cradle cap who sit there. Not so fragile, of course, but the fontanelles remain sensitive areas which must be protected from violent shocks.
Baby’s fontanelles: abnormalities not to be overlooked
The fontanel does not always look the same depending on the condition of the baby. When it is peaceful, it lets you feel the beating of the traffic if you put your hand lightly on it. When baby cries, she lifts up and stretches out under her finger. In the normal state, it is therefore flexible and pulsatile.
On the other hand, the fontanel sometimes presents anomalies that should alert parents.
- Persistent bulging of the anterior fontanel, while the child is calm, is worrying. This state can raise suspicion intracranial hypertension. It is therefore urgent to consult a doctor without delay.
- The fontanel can be slightly depressed without pathological significance. Corn if this sagging becomes more intense, is accompanied by diarrhea or digestive problems, and that you observe a significant decrease in urine, a skin fold and / or sunken baby’s eyes, you may suspect dehydration very dangerous for the child. It is imperative to consult a doctor without delay