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A fontanel speaks volumes about your child’s health

By Stella Naigino

Added 12th July 2017 12:51 PM

After 8 months, Namutebi’s was running around with her child in hospital and to her surprise, the doctor just looked at the state of the fontanel and he just concluded that the baby required serious medical attention

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After 8 months, Namutebi’s was running around with her child in hospital and to her surprise, the doctor just looked at the state of the fontanel and he just concluded that the baby required serious medical attention

When Joslyn Namutebi gave birth to her child, her doctors cautioned her to always pay attention to her child’s fontanel because it communicates a lot to do with child’s wellbeing.

After 8 months, Namutebi’s was running around with her child in hospital and to her surprise, the doctor just looked at the state of the fontanel and he just concluded that the baby required serious medical attention. Namutebi’s baby had a bulging fontanel.

At this point, Namutebi recalled what the doctors had told her. “From that day, I never take doctors words for granted,” she says.

“Most parents don’t know this fact but medical personnel’s should elite parent’s especially first time mothers about the fontanel and why it’s important to pay attention to it,” says Namutebi..

Experts describe a fontanel as a soft spot on a child’s head.  It’s formed when two sutures join to form a membrane.

According to Dr Sabrina Kitaka a pediatrician from Mulago, a fontanel allows the head to change shape at birth to help a baby pass through the birth canal. She adds that fontanels also allow the brain and skull to grow especially in the child’s 12 months of growth.

Kitaka says a child usually has two fontanels the anterior and posterior fontanels, although at birth there are several of them and they usually harden as the child grows.

“At birth a child usually has six fontanels and of the six, the anterior fontanel is the largest and most important for clinical evaluation,” says Kitaka.

She adds that the average size of a fontanel is 2.1cm and the medium time for it to close is 13.8 months and parents pay attention and tell changes in the state of the fontanel.

“Sunken fontanels usually mean that your child is dehydrated which enables a parent to devise means of dealing with the dehydration problem,” explains Sabrina.

She notes that a bulging fontanel usually shows increasing pressure and parents should consider seeking medical intervention.

However, she notes that much as they are supposed to close when the child is 13.8 months, some tend to take long to close due to a number of reasons. These among others include increased intracranial pressure, down syndrome, rickets and extra cranial tumors.

She notes that parents should endeavor to take good care of their children to avoid running around in hospitals. With such, your child’s fontanel will be normal.

She says a normal fontanel varies widely in shape and time of closure

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