Measuring Infants and Children

To be used to assign a score for step 3 of STAMP.

Preparing to measure an infant or child

  • Remove the infant or child's shoes and socks.
  • Remove any accessories from the infant or child's hair, e.g. clips and hairbands, and undo braids if they are likely to interfere with the length or height measurement.
  • If infant is ≤2 years old, remove his/her nappy.

Measuring length: for infants ≤2 years old or children who cannot stand

  • Cover the length board with a thin cloth or soft paper (Figure 4).
  • Ask the parent/carer to place the infant on the length board.
  • The infant should be laid on his/her back with his/her head against the fixed headboard, compressing the hair (Figure 5).
  • Make sure that the infant's head does not move from side to side and is positioned with the infant looking up. Ask the parent/carer to keep the infant's head in this position (Figure 5)
  • Ensure that the infant lies straight, with his/her shoulders touching the board. The spine should not be arched.
  • Hold the infant's legs down with one hand and pull the footboard against the soles of his/her feet with the other (Figure 6).
  • Record the infant's length to the nearest 0.1cm.

  • If the child is ≥2 years old, but cannot stand, measure length and subtract 0.7cm to convert it to height.
Watch Clinical Demonstration

Measuring height: for children ≥2 years old or children who will not lie down to be measured

  • Ensure that the height board is on level ground, or appropriately secured to a wall.
  • Ask the parent/carer to kneel in order to get down to the level of the child.
  • Ask the parent /carer to help the child to stand on the baseboard with his /her feet slightly apart and the back of the head, shoulder blades, buttocks, calves and heels all touching the vertical board.
  • Position the child's head so that it is facing forward, and ensure that it does not move from side to side (Figure 7).
  • If necessary, push gently on the knees to help the child stand at his/her full height.
  • Pull the headboard down to rest firmly on top of the child's head and compress the hair (Figure 7).
  • Record the child's height to the nearest 0.1cm.

  • If the infant is <2 years old, but will not lie down to be measured, measure standing height and add 0.7cm to convert it to length
Watch Clinical Demonstration