UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MEDICAL FOUNDATION
CLINICAL POLICY AND PROCEDURE
TITLE: MEASURING LENGTH OF INFANTS
Effective Date: October 2002 Approval: See Authorization
Supersedes Protocol: None Contact: Clinical Staff Education
Reviewed October, 2003 March, 2005 November, 2007 January, 2008 May 2009
May 2010 October 2011 October, 2012
PURPOSE: To provide guidelines for measuring the length of an infant at University of Wisconsin Medical
Foundation (UWMF) or Department of Family Medicine (DFM) clinics.
DEFINITION: An infant’s length may be measured at birth and at specified intervals of time to determine the
infant’s rate of development. The newborn is approximately 51 cm at birth and by 6 weeks the infant will
increase by 10%.
POLICY: The clinical staff will utilize the following guidelines to measure the length of an infant. An infant’s
length is to be measured and recorded, rather than simply recording a stated length from the parents, guardians
SUPPLIES: provider’s order, patient’s electronic medical record, SECA board or other solid measuring
surface (not exam table).
1. Check provider’s order and clarify any inconsistencies.
2. Wash hands and gather equipment.
3. Introduce yourself to the parent(s)/caregiver(s) and identify the patient by verifying name and date of
4. Provide good light and provide privacy.
5. Explain procedure to the parent(s)/caregiver(s).
6. Place a chux on the SECA board or other measuring device.
7. Lay the infant in a supine position.
8. Keep your hands on the infant at all times. It is acceptable for the parent to assist.
9. Hold the infant’s head at midline and gently position the top of the infant’s head against the top of the
SECA board or start of the measuring device.
10. Gently extend the legs, with toes pointing up. Bring the moveable bar on the SECA board up to touch the
bottom of the feet or other device if using a different type of measuring board.
Reminder: toes pointed up and heels against board.
11. Determine the length of the child using the measuring marks provided on the SECA board or other
12. Discuss the findings with the parent(s)/ caregiver(s).
13. Wash hands.
14. Document infant’s length in Vital Signs section of patient’s electronic record.
REVISED BY: LaVay Morrison RN, BSN, Clinical Staff Educator
WRITTEN BY: Ronnie Peterson, R.N., M.S., Manager of Clinical Support
Perry, A.G. & Potter, P.A. (2002). Clinical nursing skills & techniques. (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Perry, A.G. & Potter, P.A. (2009). Fundamentals of nursing. (7th ed.). Hall, A. & Stockert, P.A. (Eds.). St.
Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.
Kowalak, J. P. (Ed.). (2009). Lippincott’s nursing procedures (5th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams
SECA board instructional booklet
Richard Welnick, MD, Medical Director, UWMF Ambulatory Clinic Operations
Sandra A. Kamnetz M.D., Vice Chair, Department of Family Medicine
Medical Director, UWMF
Vice Chair, Department of Family Medicine