Kidney size is an important parameter in the evaluation of children with renal disease. However, reference materials for kidney size in healthy children have been limited beyond the neonatal period. We performed a longitudinal cohort study of 717 healthy children born at term with normal birth weight. Kidney size and shape were determined by ultrasonography and related to gender, age, and body size (weight, length, body surface area, skinfold thickness) at 0, 3, and 18 months of age. Gender-differentiated reference charts were established. Boys had significantly larger kidney volumes than girls ( P<0.001) and larger relative volumes (kidney volume/weight) at 0 and 3 months ( P<0.001), but not at 18 months of age. The best single predictor of gender-differentiated kidney volume was weight. Relative kidney volume changed with increasing age and height in a two-phase pattern: an initial decrease until a height of 65-70 cm was reached followed by a stable level. In conclusion, kidney size was significantly influenced by gender, age, and body composition. Relative kidney volume decreased with increasing age and height in a two-phase pattern. These characteristic changes in kidney volume indicated that infant kidney growth might be influenced by sex steroids and growth hormone in addition to body composition.