When Should We Expect Growth “Spurts”?

two young boys


Any parent who has tried to keep a refrigerator well stocked with teenagers in the house can testify that kids go through “growth spurts” — periods during which they grow quickly in a short time.

While parents joke about the impossibility of keeping up with kids who outgrow their clothing soon after it’s bought, growth spurts for children who use wheelchairs also pose challenges for the seating and mobility team.

When They Grow

According to The Nemours Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to children’s health, kids grow the most during the first year of life, when babies typically grow 10" in length and triple their birth weights. After that, growth slows.

“By age 2, growth in height usually continues at a fairly steady rate of about 2.5" (6 centimeters) per year until adolescence,” the foundation said.

After a child’s first year, the next major growth spurt happens with puberty, which the foundation said lasts two to five years and typically happens between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls, and 10 and 15 for boys. By the end of puberty, kids will have reached or will be very close to their adult height.

Of course, children grow at different rates, so any growth spurt guidelines are just guidelines. But even standard guidelines can serve as a starting point when determining how much growth to build into a pediatric wheelchair.

This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of Mobility Management.

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