As many of the conditions causing poor growth in a child can have a lasting impact on his or her physical development, it is crucial that any apparent issues are investigated to determine the underlying cause.
Because children have a limited time to grow, every visit is an opportunity to help your pediatric patients by recognizing health concerns as early as possible in their development.
For children up to 2 years, measure length using an infantometer; for children 2 years and older, measure height using a stadiometer.Get the facts with our free guide
Common practices, such as marking exam table paper to measure length, are inaccurate.1 Length should be measured with an infantometer, which has a firm, flat horizontal surface with an immovable headpiece and movable footpiece both perpendicular to the measuring tape.5 Measure height with a stadiometer, which has a vertical board with attached metric ruler and movable horizontal headpiece.5Learn more with our video training
To be considered accurate, height measurements must be within 0.5 cm,6 but many factors can lead to inaccuracy. For example, if a child is wearing socks, shoes, or a ponytail, or not standing correctly, measurements may not be accurate.Download our Measurement Tips poster
To get an ongoing picture of a child’s growth, document the measurements on proper growth charts. Growth charts are age-based and gender- and condition-specific.Download proper growth charts
Growth assessment is about more than just accurate measurement and regular plotting. Determining growth velocity and calculating midparental height are also important steps to identify potential growth issues.
Parents are counting on you as their child’s medical expert. Some of the causes of growth failure can have a lasting impact on a child’s physical development, so it’s critical that any apparent growth issues be investigated to determine the underlying cause. A “wait and see” approach could delay potential diagnosis and appropriate management.
Early recognition of growth failure and referral to a specialist may be key in helping to identify children who may need follow-up and monitoring. Our Referral Checklist can help you make a timely and appropriate referral.Get the Checklist