Growth charts are important, but do parents understand them?

A child’s growth over time is a key part of pediatric care. This is true for all pediatricians, including those of us in the PICU. The most important concept is that a child keep “following the curve,” not shifting too much up or down. We use growth charts to track this, something most parents understand. Most parents also want to see their child’s chart, and many parents keep their own at home.

Thus it is important for parents to understand what the chart shows. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics, a survey of 1000 parents, showed that around half of parents misunderstood how to use them. There are some nice pictures of growth charts in the above link, but a simpler explanation is here. It’s something worth knowing about for all parents.


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