Head Circumference

Measurement of head circumference is important in infants as it allows detection of abnormalities of head growth, which are usually due to non-nutritional factors.

For more information, refer to Maternal and Child Health Service: Practice Guidelines 2009 (pdf - 791.74kb)


  • Head circumference should be measured using a flexible, non-stretchable measuring tape or disposable paper tape.
  • Ensure the tape is clean after each use.
  • Replace the plastic tape at least yearly, or more often if needed.
  • 0.5 - 1.0 cm width and 0.1 cm increments.


Sit the child on the carer's lap facing you. Very young infants may be measured lying down.


  • Place the tape around the head at points just above the eyebrows, above the ears and around the occipital prominence at the back of the head.
  • Pull the tape gently to compress the hair.


  • Record head circumference to the nearest 0.1 cm.
  • Plot on the WHO Head circumference growth chart.

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