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An infant’s fontanelle is an opening in the wall of a baby’s skull that, although it occupies a very small area, is an important part of a child’s normal development. Join Cfis.edu.vn to learn about infant fontanelle and how to safely examine a newborn’s fontanelle!
What is an infant’s fontanelle?
The fontanelle, also known as the cephalothorax, is where the bones of the top of the baby’s head have not yet fully closed. In fact, babies have two fontanels, anterior and posterior:
- The anterior fontanelle, located on the top of the head, is a diamond-shaped opening, measuring about 1 to 3 cm at birth.
- The posterior fontanelle is a triangular opening at the back of a baby’s skull that is less than ½ cm in size at birth.
Infant fontanelles play an important role in a child’s normal development.
The fontanelles leave space for the skull bones to move during childbirth, and they have elastic openings that allow the baby’s head to pass through the mother’s tight pressure to get out. The openings keep the baby from getting hurt and cause bleeding in the brain, eye area, and periosteum.
In addition, in the newborn period, babies are prone to falling, causing concussion in the head, at this time the fontanelle functions as a cushion to protect the baby from brain injury.
When will the fontanelle of an infant close?
From birth, the bones of a baby’s skull are separate and related to each other through loose joints. That’s why an infant’s brain can develop rapidly during the first few months of life.
By the time that void is filled, the fontanelle will have closed. Usually, the posterior fontanelle closes in 1 to 2 months and the anterior fontanelle closes in 9 to 18 months. The time of fontanel closure may be earlier or later than this time but is still considered normal.
How to examine the fontanelle in a newborn baby safely?
The fontanelle of a newborn, if in normal condition, will be flat, ie there are no signs of swelling, bulging or depression compared to the box. The anterior fontanelle may protrude or bulge when the child cries, vomits, or lies down. At the same time, the fontanelle will rise and fall as if it is beating with the heartbeat. This is a normal phenomenon so parents should not be too worried.
When examining a newborn’s fontanelle, we gently touch the top of the baby’s head with the tip of our finger, it will feel a little soft, flat, and the bottom is empty with a slight downward curve.
Parents should check the child’s fontanelle regularly by touching the baby’s head to feel how the fontanel is. This will help parents monitor the baby’s development and growth in the first days of life and detect early if there are any abnormal signs.
If detecting any abnormal signs such as font is too concave or too convex, font closing time is too early or too late, density of font is firm, below fontanite is not hollow but something protrudes, … Parents should take the child to the doctor immediately so that the disease can be detected and treated promptly.
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Source: Vinmec health information page
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