Clinical growth charts are a very useful tool in determining the growth patterns of kids. They help compare the height, weight, and head circumference of your kid with that of several other kids in the United States. The results give you an idea on where your kid stands in comparison to other kids in the study. With this information, you can continuously and successfully track the growth pattern of your little ones right from when they are born, to when they become toddlers, and even till they grow further into teenagers.
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In order to get the percentile value of your kids’ growth, you need to constantly know the value of their height, and there is no other way but to have a height scale at home. These scales are popularly referred to as growth charts, or height growth charts. It is pertinent that you note the difference between a clinical growth chart and a growth chart, as I will continue referring to both throughout this buyer guide. A clinical growth chart is the chart provided by WHO or CDC to show you the percentile values of your child’s height, weight, or head circumference. A growth chart or height growth chart on the other hand is the tool used in measuring the height of your kid.
In this buyer guide, we will discuss the best 10 growth charts in the industry, as well as their pros and cons. This will give you an idea on the best option for your kids. With the many designs out there, you can either go for a height growth chart designed in form of a ruler, or you can opt for a more colorful design.
Facts You Need to Know about Clinical Growth Charts
- Whether your kid is being breastfed or formula fed, and regardless of your ethnic group; WHO recommends that you use baby grow charts for all infants between 0 and 2 years if age.
- Thanks to growth assessment, you can get highly valuable information about the general wellbeing of your child. To perform a complete growth assessment, you need to get multiple measurements of the baby’s weight, length or height, and head circumference over a certain period of time. With this information, you can design an accurate graph and interpret the growth curves easily.
- There are various types of growth charts out there but regardless of the one you buy, you need to record the measurement of your child’s height regularly, possibly on a monthly basis.
- If you have never used a clinical growth chart before, then you may not know how to interpret growth curves. A healthy growth is generally characterized by a child’s weight and length moving along percentile lines. Weight and height are proportional; so for most kids, both will develop at the same rate. You can identify poor growth by weight or height dropping on percentiles. For kids over 2 years of age, a BMI of over 85th percentile is described as overweight, while over the 95th percentile is described as obesity (according to CDC clinical growth charts).
- Depending on the age of your baby and the clinical growth chart that is best for him/her, it is a good idea to have a little understanding on how they are constructed. WHO infant charts are constructed based on the steady growth of healthy breastfed babies from 6 different countries living in the most ideal health and environmental conditions. CDC charts, on the other, hand are constructed based on a record of children’s height and weight in the United States.
- The WHO charts do not show average growth, but optimal growth that are characterized by breastfeeding. The reason why their charts are based on breastfeeding is because healthily breastfed babies add on weight more slowly within their first year of life. This is in contrast to formula-fed infants.
- When a child approaches his/her 2nd year, you should switch to a CDC growth chart. Since babies younger than 2 years of age are usually measured while lying down (length), the percentile of their growth on the chart may shift a little as they transition to height. All growth charts of infants below 2 years are based on their lying position (length) which happens to be around 1-2 cm more than in their standing position (height). Another feature which may change during your child’s transition is his/her position on the weight percentile chart.
- The growth charts do not apply to prematurely born babies and other special cases. Clinical growth charts do not include data from Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) because the growth patterns of such babies is known to be quite different from full-term infants. If however, you are still hell bent on knowing the growth rate of your baby, ask your pediatrician to provide you with a specialized clinical growth rate chart.
Which of these growth charts is best to go with?
Each of the growth charts listed in this guide has been carefully researched and confirmed capable of providing you with accurate results, and is also capable of lasting long. You can go with any of the 10 on this list if you are not bothered with individual design and build. However, if you really just want your options to be narrowed down a bit further, then we can say that the first 5 in the guide incorporate both accuracy and a host of other exciting design features.
Are the charts meant for kids only?
If you are newly married and about to have a new baby then there could be this excitement that would make you want to monitor the early stages of your baby’s life. WHO’s clinical growth chart are meant for babies under 2 years of age while CDC’s clinical growth charts are meant for children between the ages of 2 and up. If you want to monitor the height percentile of your young infants, then you may either go for a height growth chart that is less than 4 feet, or you can also go for the full range height growth charts. If you opt for a full range height growth chart, then it’s like killing two birds with one stone because you can also use it for adults. In a nutshell, the charts can be used by anybody within the scale range you purchased.
What materials are used in the construction of the growth chart and which one is stronger?
Durability truly depends on the materials used in the construction of a product, however, it also depends on the way consumers handle and maintain the product. The materials used in the construction of the growth charts in this buyer guide are plywood, canvas, and cardboard paper.
The manufacturing company may opt to use any of these 3 depending on the kind of results they want to achieve. Canvas appears to be the toughest, and it can easily be rolled for safe keeping. Cardboard is tough too, but depending on the thickness used. The downside is that it can be affected by moisture. Same as plywood, but a little tweaking can be done in both cases to improve their resistance to moisture.
Which of the growth charts are best for wall mounting?
All of the growth charts, except the Health o Meter, reviewed in this buyer guide are designed to be mounted on the wall. Some employ the use of ropes while several others use gums and stickers. Once again, the right one for your home depends on diverse factors. If you have a wall that feels moist most of the time, then you should avoid stickers and go for the growth charts with ropes for hanging. The downside of using these types of charts is that your kids can bring it down. You can, however, use personal wisdom to make it stay permanently on the wall probably with the use of nails or something similar. All of the wall mounted growth charts are good and some come with beautiful and educative stickers to help your kids improve on their knowledge.
How do I interpret my baby’s growth pattern using the information from these charts?
The goal of monitoring the height of your children is to confirm that they are sound and healthy. Once you notice an irregular growth pattern, then you have to go see a doctor to find out what the cause is. Now that you have the height values of your kids using any of the growth charts above, you need to get the clinical charts from CDC’S Clinical Growth Charts page. Using it, you can get the percentiles of your kid’s growth and be sure that they are sound and healthy.
What is a percentile?
Percentiles are the most widely used clinical indicators for assessing the size and growth patterns of children in the US and other parts of the world. Percentiles give an estimate of a child’s position by comparing him with a group of other children, and showing what percent of this reference population the child will match or exceed. To help you understand it better, a 5-year old boy whose height is at the 25th percentile, is as tall or taller than 25 percent of the reference population for 5 years old boys. It also shows that he is shorter than 75 percent of the 5 year old boys that were used as the reference population.