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Practical Growth measurement

  • The importance of accurate measures

    • Accurate measuring and weighing using good quality equipment and standard techniques is needed for best practice growth assessment
    • Equipment should be calibrated and serviced according to manufacturer's advice
    • Even small errors measuring or recording growth measures of infants and young children can have a large impact on their growth assessment. For example, an error of 0.5 kg can result in an infant being on the 15th to less than the 3rd percentile
    • Measurements are compared to growth charts to allow the practitioner to assess whether the child's growth is adequate, below or above that expected for his / her age

    Length or height?

    • For infants less than 2 years of age length is measured lying down, then depending on the child, height or length may be measured for children at around 2 years of age
    • Record whether length or height has been measured because length is greater than height / stature by approximately 1 - 2 cm
    • Use the appropriate growth chart to plot growth. The WHO chart for length if under 2 and then either the WHO or CDC chart for height if over 2 (depending on which is used in your state or territory). The same reference should be used for both weight and length / height.

    Best practice measurement tips

  • Video

    The following video of a 2 week-old baby demonstrates weighing and measuring technique for infants less than 2 years.

    The following video of a 2 year old toddler demonstrates weighing and measuring technique for children over 2 years using CDC charts. Note that NT and WA will use WHO charts for this age group.

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