Assessing Growth of Infants and Toddlers
Recumbent length is regularly assessed in children less than 2 years old. Measuring the length of infants and toddlers is an important part of monitoring their growth and development.
Assessment of human development requires exact and reproducible measurements of height. It is useful to measure the length of children under 2 years old to permit correlations with earlier length measurements and to start a record of height for progressing examinations.
For recumbent length it is ideal to utilize a firm headpiece where the head lies, and a mobile footboard, on which the feet are set opposite to the plane of the length of the baby.
It is advised that 2 people engage in measuring infants and toddlers, one to position the child and one to measure. Ideally, the child should be relaxed and their legs fully extended with the head situated so that the child is looking straight up from the reclining position. the measurement should be reported to the smallest tenth of an inch or millimeter.
Steps to Accurate Length Measurements
For this procedure everyone must be very careful that the child does not get insured in any way.
- Place the infantometer on a hard, flat surface, the safest being the floor or a large table.
- Make sure that the caregiver or support person has removed the child’s shoes and socks and check for braids or hairstyles that may interfere with an accurate measurement.
- Ask the support person to slowly lay the child down on the infantometer with their head on the stationary headpiece.
- The support person should then hold the back of the child’s head with their hands and slowly place it on the infantometer.
- From the head of the infantometer, the adult support person should place their hands over the child’s ears, with arms straight. Make sure that the child’s head is against the base of the infantometer and that the child is looking straight up.
- Ensured that the child is lying completely flat in the center of the infantometer. Place your left hand above the child’s ankles or knees. press them gently, but firmly on the base of the infatometer. With your right hand place the lower mobile stop of the infantometer against the heels of the child’s feet. Sometimes the child resists and pushes the mobile stop with their feet, keep trying until you locate the heels of the foot, which may only be for a few seconds.
- Read the measurement result aloud, to the nearest 1 millimeter or tenth of an inch, and then write down the measurement in the data record form.
- Confirm the child’s position. Repeat a few steps if deemed necessary until the correct position is achieved. and take another measurement
- Repeat the measurement a third time.
- There should be very little variation in the three results. Record the average of the three measurements in the patient record
- With small children it is important to work quickly
- Carefully pick up the child and hand him over to the caregiver.
Length measurements should be performed by a trained individual. It is suggested that measurements of infants and toddlers be taken three times before the average is recorded, there should be very little variation between measurements. Length measurements can provide a good indication of the overall size and proportions of an infant’s body, and changes in length over time can reveal trends in growth. Measuring length can be used to detect potential issues early on, such as growth delays or abnormalities.
Additionally, length measurements can be used to compare an infant’s growth to population-based growth standards, which can help healthcare providers determine if an infant is growing at a normal rate. This information can inform decisions about nutrition, feeding, and other interventions that may be needed to support healthy growth.