What You Need to Know About Your Child’s Height Percentile

Mar 24, 2021 by

Are you concerned that your child is too small or too tall for their age? Or perhaps you just want to know more about your child’s height percentile and what it means for their overall health and wellbeing? If yes, you have come to the right place.

A child’s growth pattern is dependent on many different factors, including genetics, environment, diet, medical history, and birth weight. Of course, children come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, in the same way that adults do. However, an unusual pattern of growth could be a sign of a health abnormality.

Find out below:

  • How to calculate your child’s height percentile
  • What does your child’s height percentile mean?
  • Why might your child get a low percentile reading
  • How often should I measure my child?

How can I calculate my child’s height percentile?

There are a few different tools that you can use to measure your child’s height percentile, but arguably the simplest and most accurate is a height percentile calculator. All you need to do is add the gender of your child, their age, and their height to discover how your child’s height compares to the national average. The data is based on the WHO’s (World Health Organization) Child Growth Standards.

Alternatively, you could use the height percentile chart which has been created by the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention).

What does my child’s height percentile mean?

Understanding your child’s height percentile is fairly straightforward. You will find that the data given on both the calculator tool and the chart are based on a scale of 100. If your child’s results show that their height falls into the 50th percentile, this means that he or she is taller than 50% of children the same age. If they fall into the 75% percentile, he or she is taller than 75% of children the same age and shorter than only 25%.

To determine whether your child is within an average growth range or not, if they are around the 50th percentile, this suggests they are of average height. However, it is important that you take into consideration the height of yourself and your partner and whether or not your child is growing on a percentile curve that is expected for your family.

Furthermore, it is also important to understand that growth charts and calculators are best used to follow the rate of your child’s growth over time to see if they follow a consistent growth curve. If your child has always been in the 95th height percentile and continues around this mark, then it is highly likely that they are growing normally. However, if they have always been around the 75th height percentile and suddenly drop to the 25th percentile, this may be a cause for concern.

Why does my child have a low height percentile?

As mentioned above, children come in a wide range of heights, and if you are small in stature yourself, it is highly likely that your child will also fall in a low height percentile. However, if your child’s height percentile is uncommonly low for their age, this could be a sign of a chronic illness or other health concern that needs attention.

If you are worried about your child’s low height percentile, speak with your pediatrician about your concerns. The same goes for an unusually high height percentile. Before visiting your child’s pediatrician about their height, it can be useful to have the below information to hand:

  • The height of both genetic parents
  • Family history of short stature, late puberty, or any diseases
  • Birth length and weight of your child
  • The age at which both parents went through puberty

How often should I measure my child?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Health Care, you should measure your child’s height and weight at the following times:

  • At birth
  • Age 2-4 days
  • 1 month
  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 9 months
  • 12 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 months
  • Every year until they reach 21 years of age.

It can become all too easy to become obsessed with your child’s weight and height percentile, especially if you face additional pressure or opinions from other parents. However, it is important to remember that each child is different, even siblings, and, in all likelihood, your child is growing perfectly normally and reaching milestones as they should.

If you are concerned about your child’s height, a simple visit to their pediatrician should be able to put your mind at rest.

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