A growth chart is a graph used to track a child's growth and development over time. At each of your child's routine checkups, the doctor or public health nurse will measure:
- Length (height). A baby's length is measured while lying down, from the top of the head to the bottom of the foot. Older children are measured standing up with heels against a wall.
- Head circumference (for babies). This is the measurement around the largest part of your baby's head.
These measurements are plotted on a graph according to your child's age and sex.
Growth charts show the consistency of your child's pattern of growth over time. It is important to remember that your child is likely to have growth spurts as well as periods of slow growth, even as a baby. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. For more information about growth charts, go to the Dietitians of Canada webpage "Is My Child Growing Well?" at www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Toddlers/Child-growing-well.aspx.
Other Works Consulted
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Use of World Health Organization and CDC growth charts for children aged 0–59 months in the United States. MMWR, 59(RR-9): 1–15. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5909.pdf. [Erratum in MMWR 59(36): 1184. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5936.pdf.]
Current as of: August 22, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics