My baby is 5 months old and seems to have an overly large soft spot on the top of his head. How do I know if this is unusual or dangerous?
The best way to know if a baby's soft spot is "overly large" is to ask your pediatrician. Examining the soft spot is something that all pediatricians routinely do starting at birth with the newborn exam, and then at every subsequent doctor visit. That's because the soft spot on the top of the head, also referred to as the anterior fontanelle, represents the area of the skull where the several bony plates of the skull all meet. The fact that these bones aren't fused together at birth is very important when it comes to allowing a newborn's head to make its way through the birth canal.
Similarly, the fact that the bones of the skull don't typically fuse together until somewhere between 10 months and 2 years allows babies' brains the room they need to grow and develop normally. Any time the soft spot on the top of a baby's head is bigger or smaller than normal, or when it starts to close earlier or later than expected, it's always a good idea to make sure to check with your pediatrician to make sure there are no underlying causes for concern or need for further evaluation.