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Taipei City Hospital

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Simple guide to child growth curves

       Every child gets a “Children's Health Manual” after they are born. Parents know to bring the manual for the children’s vaccinations, but this manual is much more than a vaccination record. It covers the child’s growth curve percentile, health examination record, various health guides, and children resources.

        Doctors evaluate two things: first, in a single data point, we usually note if the development deviates too far from the norm, such as over the 97th percentile or under the 3rd percentile; second, and more importantly, whether the continuous change of the growth curve is more than two curve intervals from the previous percentile, such as falling from the 50th percentile to the 3rd percentile below the red line. Therefore, if a child with height and weight in the 15th percentile stays close to the 15th percentile in follow-ups, he or she has stable development. We must stress to parents to compare the child’s growth with his or her own past development, and not compare them with other children.

       Simply put, and in conclusion, a child’s initial development status can determined by the growth curve in the Children's Health Manual. When the growth curve land above the 97th percentile, below the 3rd percentile, or more then two curve intervals from the previous growth curve point, the child may have a developmental problem. Please visit your pediatrician for further evaluations.