By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Many parents are concerned with their child’s growth – many wonder if their child is growing at an average rate. However, many healthy children come in a wide variety and shapes and sizes. Parents should understand that it is acceptable if their child is not the same size as their friend’s children or their other children at comparable ages – children do not grow at steady rates.
A child’s growth can be affected at many stages in the child’s life, such as birth, infancy (a child’s first two years), childhood, and puberty.
At birth: A child’s growth is based partly on genetics. In general, newborns are typically smaller than other children due to size of a woman’s uterus, boys are larger than girls, and multiples are typically smaller. Environmental factors that can affect a baby’s growth include the mother’s weight and weight gain during pregnancy, the mother’s caffeine intake, and whether or not the mother has a chronic illness (i.e., diabetes).
During the first two years: A baby’s growth is based on his/her birth size and how big the baby is genetically programmed to be. Thus, a small baby programmed to be a large child will grow faster than a big baby who is programmed to be a smaller child.
Childhood: Children will experience many instances of rapid weight gain and growth spurts. These will vary between children and the individual growth spurts in a specific child will also vary, some spurts being more dramatic than others. Although it is unknown what causes growth spurts to occur one month and not the next, doctors and scientists do know what triggers growth in the first place: the human growth hormone. Although HGH is produced throughout the day, it is produced in large quantities during one’s sleep, that is why is it critical for children to get as much shut eye as possible.
Puberty: After infancy, the teen and tween years are the periods for most rapid growth. The period generally occurs in girls between the ages of 10 and 11 and lasts until 15. For boys, it generally occurs about two years later and lasts until age 17.
If you would like to read more on this topic please see Child Growth Charts.