Accuracy of the Broselow tape in estimating the weight of First Nations children

Can J Rural Med. 2011 Fall;16(4):121-5.


Introduction: During resuscitation, the Broselow tape (BT) is the standard method of estimating pediatric weight based on body length. The First Nations population has a higher prevalence of obesity and experiences more injury than the non-First Nations population. The prevalence of obesity has raised the concern that the BT may not accurately estimate weight in this population. The purpose of this study was to validate the BT in 8 First Nations communities.

Methods: We performed a search of the electronic medical records of 2 community health centres that serve 8 local First Nations communities. We searched for the most recent clinic visit during which height and weight had been recorded in the records of patients less than 10 years of age with a postal code indicating residence in a First Nations community. The patients' actual weight was compared with their BT weight estimates using the Bland-Altman method. The Spearman coefficient of rank and percentage error was also calculated.

Results: A total of 243 children were included in the study (119 girls, 124 boys). The mean age was 33.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 29.7 to 36.9), mean height was 91.8 cm (95% CI 89.0 to 94.6), mean weight was 16.2 kg (95% CI 15.0 to 17.3)and mean BT weight was 14.0 kg (95% CI 13.1 to 14.8). The Bland-Altman percent difference was 11.9% (95% CI -17.3% to 41.1%). The Spearman coefficient of rank correlation was 0.963 (p < 0.001). The BT had a percentage error greater than 10% error 51.8% of the time, with 49.4% being underestimations.

Conclusion: The BT was often not accurate at estimating the weight of children in 8 First Nations communities; it underestimated their weight almost half of the time.

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / ethnology*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Ontario / ethnology
  • Pediatrics / instrumentation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies