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
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.