The anterior fontanel, commonly known as a babies "soft spot", is an opening in the top of the skull about 1 1/4" across and is covered by tough, spongy tissue. This opening, and several others like it, make child birth more practical(the skull is flexible) and provide some shock protection for falls and direct blows to the head. The opening usually closes between 9 and 18 months.

It is often said that a new-born baby can be murdered very easily by passing a needle through the anterior fontanel, causing fatal brain damage. In such a young child, the hole closes very quickly and, supposedly, leaves no trace.

During the times of witch hunts, this was an accusation frequently levelled at supposed witches who worked as midwives. Since infant mortality was so high in such times, it was easy to make such accusations without need for any real evidence - ideal for the time. Whether such practice ever really did take place is uncertain.

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