Growth: is your child the right size?

One in two parents would not know how to measure their child. An indispensable action to follow its growth. © karlyukav_Freepik

Article updated 09/11/2021 05:57

Article updated 09/11/2021 05:57

The size of a child is evocative of his good growth. It is therefore essential to make sure it falls within health standards by measuring it regularly. Indeed, a delay can be a sign of a disorder or disease that requires medical attention. “Almost all pediatric diseases can have an impact on growth. To define and diagnose the causes of a delay, the doctor or pediatrician must examine the baby. Regular monitoring is therefore important to detect a problem as soon as possible., explains Professor Agnès Linglart, pediatrician in the pediatric endocrinology-diabetology department of the Bicêtre hospital. How to do ? When and what to do with measurements? My health explains everything to you.

How do I measure my child?

Although each child follows their own growth curve, there are standards that apply to all children. In 2018, new curves were also produced, more consistent with the current height of the children and no longer that of the postwar period. They are found in the medical record, a good tool for parents to determine if there is a delay. But for that, you need to know how to use it! According to the GRANDIR association and the French Society of Pediatrics (SFP), almost one in two parents does not know how often to monitor the growth of their child in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Here are the rules to follow.

A different follow-up according to age

To be aware of a possible growth anomaly, regular monitoring is essential and with the right frequency, depending on your age:

  • From birth to 1 year: Measurement is done every 3 months.
  • Between 1 and 4 years: every 6 months.
  • From 4 years to puberty: 1 to 2 times a year.

Measuring your baby: some rules to follow

In order for the measurements to be correct, measurements must be carried out according to some principles:

  • For children under 2 years of age, it is preferable that the measurement be done by a healthcare professional. The baby must really be lying down.
  • From the age of 2, the child is measured standing against a wall, as straight and barefoot as possible. The back, buttocks and heels must be in contact with the surface of the wall as well as the head, which must be straight. For the most accurate measurement possible, avoid excessively thick clothing and hair accessories. Place a book on the child’s head, perpendicular to the wall, then mark a mark with a pencil on the edge that touches the top of the skull to make a note of the exact size.

How to recognize stunted growth?

Generally, parents start to worry when they see that their child is shorter than his classmates. But it is important to follow the growth of the child from the beginning “Explains Professor Linglart. The measurements must be systematically in the child’s medical record to allow a growth curve to be obtained. This will then be easier to understand and learn.

Growth retardation: spot the signs!

In the follow-up of the measurements, three signs evoke a delay in the child’s physical growth:

  • a standard size below average
  • a noticeable slowdown in the rate of growth
  • as well as an abnormally insufficient size compared to the size of the two parents.

More concretely, other signs can warn of disturbed growth. ” Simple things can be signs to be taken into account the parents. For example, when it’s been several months since we had to renew children’s clothes. children growing up normally Soon, That it can be revealing », Explains Béatrice Démaret, president of theassociation GROW.

Growth and size of children: talk to your doctor!

Aside from the signs of abnormality, follow-up by a healthcare professional, often the treating physician, remains essential. However, the majority of Auverhonalpine parents (62%) do not systematically show their children’s growth curves to the doctor.

Measurement is good. Reporting is better. Talking to your doctor is even better! The slogan of the GRANDIR association and the French Society of Pediatrics (SFP) is clear. For better monitoring of a child’s growth, it needs to be supervised by a healthcare professional. Keep your doctor regularly informed of your baby’s height by showing him the growth chart filled out in the medical record!


The growth curves can be found on pages 78 to 87 of the health record (new version from 2018). The health card is a free and confidential booklet that tracks important information on the child’s health (vaccinations, growth, medical follow-up, hospitalizations, treatments, etc.). It is issued to each child at the time of the birth declaration (Article 2132-1 of the Public Health Code). It can be administered by the municipality or directly from the maternity ward after the baby is born. The first information can then be provided there. In case of loss, apply to the Maternity and Child Protection Center (PMI) of your department.

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