When to Be Concerned

When to worry about your child's heightThe first step in assessing your child's growth is to focus on the things you can easily notice and measure. Here are some of the things to look for:

 

  • You see that your child is shorter than other children of the same gender and age.
  • You see that your child is shorter than a younger brother or sister.
  • Your child is not catching up to his or her classmates.
  • When you draw your child's height on a growth chart (which compares your child's growth with the growth of other children of the same age and sex), he or she is below the range of height that is considered normal for his or her age.
  • Delayed puberty: Beginning between the ages of 8½ and 13 in girls and 9½ and 13½ in boys, puberty is a phase when children's bodies mature. Most children undergo a final growth spurt in this phase as they reach their full adult height. Some children are simply late-bloomers, but a delay in puberty can be a sign of underlying medical problems that may keep children from reaching their full height potential.

If you've noticed some of these signs in your child, it is time to talk to his or her doctor. The doctor can help you determine the cause of your child's slow growth and may conduct tests to tell you if the problem is a medical one. Because these are some of your child's best years for growth, it is important to talk to your doctor as early as possible about your concerns.

Your child's growth problems may affect his or her health and well-being.