Growth charts for babies and preschoolers

growth charts babies preschoolers

When your child is born, you’ll usually receive a Well Child Tamariki Ora My Health Book. Many parents will be particularly interested in the growth charts in these books, as they’re a good way to track how your child is growing.

What are growth charts?

Growth charts are designed to show how your child is growing, as measured by height (or length), weight, and head circumference.

The Well Child Tamariki Ora My Health Book contains 10 growth charts suitable for use with New Zealand children up to 5 years of age.

They are based on measurements collected by the World Health Organisation in six different countries and their format is adapted from growth charts used in the United Kingdom. You can also download the current growth charts for New Zealand children from the Ministry of Health website. The growth charts are divided up into the following charts:

  • Boys weight 0–1 year
  • Boys weight 1–5 years
  • Boys length 0–2 years
  • Boys height 2–5 years
  • Boys head circumference 0–2 years
  • Girls weight 0–1 year
  • Girls weight 1–5 years
  • Girls length 0–2 years
  • Girls height 2–5 years
  • Girls head circumference 0–2 years

These growth charts use nine percentiles, shown as lines drawn in curved patterns. Each line at a particular percentile marks the weight or height below which that percentage of children of that age and gender fall.

For example, 25 percent of children are lighter than the 25th percentile for weight, or shorter than the 25th percentile for height. The 50th percentile represents the median (middle) of the population.

It’s important to remember that children grow at varying rates at different ages so these charts are only one way of measuring your child’s overall development. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter whether your child is one the 10th percentile or the 95th percentile.

Healthy children grow along or next to any of the percentile lines. What matters is that their growth curve stays steady, with no sudden jump or drop.

If you have concerns about the way that your child is growing and developing, you should contact your Well Child nurse or your family doctor. Remember: You’re your child’s parent and you know them best.

This fact sheet from the Ministry of Health explains more about the growth charts and how they are used.

growth charts

More resources about growth charts

Growth charts to download:

Growth chart factsheet:

Well Child Tamariki Ora My Health Book information:

More information on baby and child development

Rochelle Gribble

Rochelle is mum to three gorgeous daughters. She wishes she had more time to garden and read the newspaper in peace!

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