Weight and length/height measurement if your child is below 2 years

For parents or carers who may have concerns about their baby or child’s growth and are unsure of the best way how to measure a baby or child’s growth below the age of 2. This article explains step-by-step how to perform growth measurements and provides advice about the simple equipment needed to get started.

This article is provided as guidance and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.

Weight measurement

Equipment required: Clean digital weighing scales (either baby or family scales), on a table or level surface (not on a carpet or wobbly wooden floor)
Before you start: Remove all clothing, including nappy, socks and vests

If you have a baby scale:

  1. Place kitchen towel or a light baby blanket on the scales. Zero the scales with this on it before you start the weighing procedure.
  2. Place the baby on their back lying down.

If you have a family digital scale:

  1. Stand on the digital scale and ask a second person to note the weight measurement down.
  2. The second person should then hand you your baby/toddler.
  3. Ask the second person to write the new reading down and then subtract one from the other to record your baby’s weight. As before this should be to the closest 2 decimal points if possible.

Repeat the weighing process twice, in order to get two measurements. If there is more than 50g difference between the two measurements, repeat for a 3rd time.If it is possible write down up to the closest 2 decimal points (e.g. 6.75 kg) but if not possible then to 1 decimal point (e.g. 6.7 kg).

Length measurement

All children below 2 years of age should have their length measurement taken whilst lying down. A healthcare professional would normally use a length board, but you can design one at home by following the instructions below. This method requires two people.

Equipment required: Skirting board, book, tape measure and a towel
Before you start: Remove all of the infant’s clothing including anything covering their feet

  1. Using sticky tape, affix a tape measure to the hard floor surface. Fix 0 on the measuring tape to the bottom of the skirting board.
  2. Place the towel flat on the ground, beside the tape measure, so that your baby will be comfortable and not lying directly on the floor.
  3. Gently place your child onto the towel and ensure that the crown of the head touches the skirting board. One adult should hold the baby’s head, where the ears and eyes are perfectly aligned in a vertical line upwards against the skirting board (see image).
  4. Make sure that the tape measure is flat, and in a straight line. The second adult should gently flatten the legs and place the book at the child’s feet and take the reading, where the tape meets the heal of the foot (see image).

Repeat this a 2nd time and if there is more than a 0.1 cm difference between 2 measurements, repeat it a 3rd time.

Assessing your child’s growth

After completing weight and height measurements of the child, follow the link below to learn more about interpreting the measurements against standardized World Health Organization child weight and height growth charts.


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