Why Do Babies Have Soft Spots?

Have you ever touched a babys head and noticed the soft spots? Many parents are afraid of them and actually refuse to touch them because they are worried they will harm their child. However, no parent should be afraid of their childs soft spots, also called fontanels. The reason why is because there is nothing to be worried about!

The skull of a baby is made up of skull bones, and in the places where the bones meet there are soft spots. However, that is not just a layer of skin covering your babys developing brain. Instead, the soft spots are made up of a strong cartilage. The reason there is cartilage in this area and your baby actually has soft spots is to allow the skull to grow with the babys brain.

Babies brains grow rapidly and the soft spots accommodate this growth easily. If all the skull bones were fused together at birth then there would be no room for brain growth. So, the soft spots make this growth possible. Additionally, the fontanels allow for natural childbirth because the babys head can mold to the birth canal in order to be born. If the baby did not have a flexible head then either babies would need really small heads or women would need exceptionally large hips. Thankfully neither of these are necessary because of the fontanels.

When your child is born there are actually six soft spots, but only two really stand out. This is the one on the top of the head as well as the one on the back of the head. Amazingly, the soft spot works to protect the brain and does a great job of doing so. Most parents believe it is a vulnerability, but in reality it is not. The soft spots allows the childs skull to protect much like a football helmet would. This means that when a baby falls head first on the floor and you hear that cringing sound your babys soft spot has more than likely protected his little brain even if it didnt sound like it. Babies fall all the time, even with watchful parents, and all babies will crack their head on the floor at some time. The great news is that most of the time no real injury will be sustained.


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