The pediatrician will check the child’s height and weight at each visit. In smaller babies the head circumference is also an important parameter that is measured. The way to assess normal growth is comparing the results of the above three parameters from the last visit with those to the present day values. The important thing to note here is that there should be an adequate interval growth rather than just achieving some numbers.
What You Need To Know About Growth Charts
There are standardized growth charts available which can measure your child’s growth. In the United States, the growth chart used is provided by the WHO (World Health Organization). These are used till 24 months. After the completion of 24 months, doctors switch over to CDC growth charts.( U.S Centers for Disease Control). The results of these two charts for the same child will have some minor variations. But you should not worry as long as your doctor says all is fine.
These kids height chart or child growth chart are basically aimed at indicating the growth of breast fed babies. Since there is a percentile range there will be slight variations in formula fed babies. The parameters in the chart are-
- Height in inches and centimeters
- Weight in kilograms and pounds
Percentile: Percentile denotes a range for the growth values. If your 20 month toddler is in the 40th percentile, then it means that when comparing other children of the same age group, 40 % of the children have the same height and weight as your child. The rest 60% weigh more. Those who fall in the 50th percentile are the commonest group as they have half the children out of 100 with the same height and weight.
It is advisable for parents never to stress on the number of the percentile. If your child is in the 20% percentile, there is nothing to worry at all until the growth is consistent and he is achieving all his milestones. In the growing years, children have growth spurts and so the graph tends to go up and straight again which is perfectly normal. If your doctor is worried about it, he will inform you the reasons and the steps to be taken for the same.
Growth Chart and Parameters For Boys and Girls
The values of height and weight in these charts are different for boys and girls. Girls growth chart values tend to be slightly lower than growth chart boys. Below you will find the details of the WHO recommended chart in the percentile range of 25 to 75 percentile. This indicates that more than half of the children fall in this growth range. The rest could be smaller or bigger than this. In case of premature babies there age should be measured from the gestational age as they have more catching up to do and since they are born before the due date, they will be smaller compared to other babies. This is more noticeable in the initial months, later on these babies catch up well.
- AT BIRTH : At the time of birth, the normal weight range for boys is 6.7 to 8.1 pounds and that for girls is 6.5 to 7.8 pounds. The height should be around 19.1 to 20.1 inches for boys and 18.9 to 19.8 inches in girls.
- 12 MONTHS : By one year, your child has grown up and ready to walk. The normal weight range for boys is 19.8 to 22.9 pounds and that for girls is 18.2 to 21.4 pounds. The height should be around 29.2 to 30.5 inches for boys and 28.5 to 29.8 inches in girls.
- 15 MONTHS : By 15 months, the normal weight range for boys is 21.1 to 24.5 pounds and that for girls is 19.5 to 23.0 pounds. The height should be around 30.5 to 31.8 inches for boys and 29.9 to 31.2 inches in girls.
- 18 MONTHS : By one and a half year, the normal weight range for boys is 22.4 to 26.0 pounds and that for girls is 20.8 to 24.5 pounds. The height should be around 31.7 to 33.1 inches for boys and 31.0 to 32.5 inches in girls.
- 21 MONTHS : By the time your child is 21 months, the normal weight range for boys is 23.6 to 27.5 pounds and that for girls is 22.0 to 26.0 pounds. The height should be around 32.7 to 34.3 inches for boys and 32.1 to 33.8 inches in girls.
- 24 MONTHS : By two years of age, the normal weight range for boys is 24.8 to 28.9 pounds and that for girls is 23.3 to 27.5 pounds. The height should be around 33.8 to 35.4 inches for boys and 33.2 to 34.9 inches in girls.
Facts Related To Growth Of Toddlers
Most of the toddlers grow at a steady and normal rate. However in the following conditions, you may be worried or want to check if the toddler growth is happening normally or not.
- If your happy go lucky toddler has a major illness or a drastic change in the eating habits and the percentile changes majorly, then it is a matter of concern. If he was in the 50th percentile and suddenly has gone to the 10th percentile, then you need to check with your pediatrician as to what steps to take and accordingly make diet modifications for the kid.
- In case your child has always been a poor eater and falls in the lower range of the height and weight chart, you could help by giving him high protein and fat diet along with a nutritional supplement in his milk. This would help him gain extra calories.
- Height and weight should increase proportionally. If your toddler has put on weight recently and his height is the same, he could be heading towards childhood obesity. You must keep a watch on the intake of junk food and restrict it. Another cause of sudden and excessive weight gain is problems with the thyroid. Your doctor will check the same if it is indicated in your case. You should encourage the child to go for outdoor activities which effectively help in maintaining the ideal weight.
- The genes of the child will have a role to play in his basic body built up and so if both the parents are short, the kids average height will be than his peers at any given age. This again is totally normal. But in case where both the parents are well built, and the child is too small for his age, the doctor will want to rule out problems with the growth hormone or other genetic disorders.
- In smaller babies, growth chart for newborns includes the head circumference which is measured in each visit. The values should increase consistently and they indicate that the brain is growing normally. If the values increase very fast, it could indicate a problem like hydrocephalous. If the growth is slow, there could be a problem with the brain growth. Thus these parameters help the treating doctor to assess the normal growth pattern and look for deviations. The abnormal numbers need to be investigated in detail.