Weight

Growth is the single most important indicator of a child’s overall health and wellbeing.

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

Weighing children less than two years

Equipment

  • Use a levelled pan scale.
  • Either high quality electronic digital or beam balance.
  • Portable or 'fixed' options are suitable.
  • Scale should weigh up to 20 kg, in 0.01 kg (10 gm) increments.
  • Tray needs to be large enough to support children up to two years of age.
  • Motion detector and stabilizer.
  • No length or stature device should be attached because they do not have a stable platform.
  • Clean the scales regularly.

Service the scale (including calibration) according to manufacturers' guidelines. This is usually annually or more frequently if the scales are moved regularly; or there are concerns about accuracy

Preparation

  • Place a sheet/paper towel on the scale.
  • Child is undressed with nappy removed.

Procedure

  • Turn on scale and 'tare' to zero.
  • Ask the parent to place the baby in the centre of the scale and ensure that weight is evenly distributed.
  • Weigh with parent/carer on a platform scale if unable to weigh alone. This can be done either using a scale which can be 'zeroed' after the parent/carer stands on them (a 'taring' scale) or by subtraction as follows:
  • For example: 60 kg parent/carer and 6.5 kg child.

    1. Weigh parent/carer and record weight = 60kg.
    2. Weigh parent/carer with child = 66.5 kg.
    3. Difference is the weight of the child. e.g. 66.5 - 60 = 6.5 kg.

Recording

  • Wait until the scales settle at a reading.
  • Record weight to the nearest 10 grams.
  • Make a note if the child is in plaster, harness or any other item unable to be removed.
  • Plot on the WHO weight for age growth chart.

Children less than two who can stand without assistance may be weighed on either infant or platform scale.

Weighing children two years and over

Equipment

  • Scales for weighing children can be either high quality beam balance with movable weights, or high quality electronic (link to equipment handout resource).
  • Weighs in 0.1 kg (100 gm) increments and can be 'locked' in.
  • The scale can be easily 'zeroed'.
  • Weight is read at 'eye level' of measurer.
  • Stable weighing platform which is large enough to support the child.
  • No length or stature device should be attached because they do not have a stable platform.

Service the scale (including calibration) according to manufacturers' guidelines. This is usually annually, or more frequently if the scales are moved regularly, or there are concerns about accuracy.

Preparation

  • Place the scale on a firm surface (not carpet).
  • Explain to the child that you are measuring their weight.
  • Make sure that any outer heavy clothing such as a coat, jacket or jumper is removed. Light clothing can be worn.
  • Remove hats, hair ties and items in pockets such as toys or stones.
  • Help the child to remove their shoes.

Procedure

  • Turn the scales on and wait until they zero.
  • Ask the child to stand on the middle of the scales, looking straight ahead.
  • You may need to move them into the right position.
  • Check the child is not holding onto a wall or table; and arms are at their side.
  • Ask the child to look straight ahead and stand still.
  • Wait until the scales settle at a reading.

Recording

  • Bend down if necessary to read the scale at eye level.
  • Record weight to the nearest 100 grams.
  • Plot weight on the CDC weight for age growth chart.

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