Ask Anything.

It starts with knowledge!

Get the answers to your most important questions about growth. The doctor can go into further detail during your child’s next appointment.
A percentile on a growth chart indicates children’s average heights for their age group. Your doctor will compare your child’s height to average heights of other children the same age.
Most children fall between the 3rd and 97th percentiles on the growth chart. Ask your doctor where your child should be.
Your doctor will most likely look at the change in your child’s height from year to year and see if he or she is growing at a normal rate.
To get an accurate growth rate for your child, he or she should be measured every 6 to 12 months.
The “mid-parental target height” is a method used to estimate the target height for your child based on both parents’ heights.
If your child is below the 3rd percentile, he or she may be referred to a specialist. It may mean that your child has an underlying medical condition.
Because a slower growth rate can be caused by a variety of factors, it’s important to talk to your child’s doctor. Some causes are harmless and not health related. But other reasons may be serious—they can range from poor nutrition to kidney or liver disease, even low production of growth hormone.
Ask your doctor to explain the measurements they take, as well as your child’s percentile and growth velocity. Find out if these measurements could indicate a problem.
Head over to our Resources page to download a bunch of helpful tools. And make sure to schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor to discuss your concerns.
Your doctor will make sure your child is regularly measured and plot his or her growth on a chart. If the doctor thinks there might be a problem, they may recommend your child be measured more often throughout the next year.
It’s possible that the physician may want to refer your child to a specialist in order to perform certain tests and make an official diagnosis. The goal is to address any potential problems as soon as possible.
Visiting a specialist is not a cause for alarm—but since your child only has a limited time to grow, you should follow up as soon as possible. Also, keep in mind that it may take some time to secure an appointment, so you may need to plan ahead.

A specialist may:

  • Perform a physical examination
  • Take a medical history of the child and parents
  • Order a bone age X-ray
  • Order genetic testing
  • Order blood testing
  • Recommend additional testing

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