A study of errors that can occur when weighing infants

J Adv Nurs. 1997 Mar;25(3):587-94. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1997.1997025587.x.


When infants are weighed at well baby or infant welfare clinics, the weight change from one visit to the next is used as a guide to the welfare of the child. Infant welfare clinic nurses are expert clinicians who use weight measurements as a rough indicator of well-being only, as it is well known by them that these measurements are fraught with error. This paper calculates the amount of error which was found in repeated tests of weights of infants, and in the weight changes brought about by biological variation. As a result, it is recommended that babies under nine months of age be weighed at clinic visits no less than a fortnight apart, and older infants, at least one month apart. If they are weighed more often, then the weight changes detected will be less than the amount of error which affects the measurements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry* / instrumentation
  • Anthropometry* / methods
  • Bias
  • Body Weight*
  • Clothing
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care
  • Infant, Newborn / growth & development*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors