Excessively large fontanelles are larger than expected soft spots for the age of a baby. In an infant, the spaces where the bones of the skull come together, but are not completely joined, are called soft spots or fontanelle (fontanel or fonticulus).
Soft spot - large
Fontanelles allows for growth of the skull during an infant's first year. Slow or incomplete closure of the skull bones is most often the cause of a wide fontanelle.
For general information, see
Larger than normal fontanelles are most commonly caused by:
- Down syndrome
- Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)
- Apert syndrome
- Cleidocranial dysostosis
Congenital rubella Neonatal hypothyroidism
- Osteogenesis imperfecta
Review Date: 11/02/2009
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.