5 Key Ways of Assessing Physical Growth


Recording of the weight of the child in the early stages forms a decent way of measuring the overall growth of the child in comparision to the age. The weight must be measured preferably in nude or minimal clothing and recorded in an electronic type of weighing scale. Spring balances present a margin of error on lower weights. The child must be placed in the middle of the weighing pan. Zero error must be corrected before any measurement is taken.


Measurement taken for children who are below 2 years of age. The child is positioned in supine position on a rigid measuring table. Make sure following points are followed-

  1. Legs are kept straight
  2. Feet are at right angles to legs with the toes pointing upwards.
  3. Child heels must be in firm contact with the free foot board.
  4. Any external protrusions like hair pins and hair bands must be removed. Diapers must be temporarily removed.

Length of the baby is measured from a scale which is set of the measuring table. Measurement done on a sagging mattress is inaccurate.  Please do not use cloth tapes for this purpose.

Standing height

The child must stand upright. The heels must be slightly separated and weight evenly distributed on both feet. Body must rest firmly against the wall in which the measurement is taken. The buttocks, head, shoulders must be in contact with the wall.

The head is so positioned such that child looks directly forwards. The head piece is kept firmly over the head to compress the hair.

Head circumference

The crossed tape method in which firm pressure is applied to compress the hair is the preferred way to measure the head circumference. Head ornaments are removed and braids if any are removed. Tape if used for any purpose must be non stretchable type.

Chest circumference

The chest circumference is measured at the level of the nipples. Care must be taken that it is taken in between inspiration and expiration. The crossed tape method which is used for head circumference measurement is used for measuring the chest circumference.

Mid upper arm circumference

Mid upper arm circumference is measured generally. Mark a point mid-way while the child holds the left arm by his side. Crossed tape method is used for measuring the circumference. Ensure that the tape is just tight enough to avoid any gap and avoid any compression of the soft tissue.

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