On the other end of the spectrum is Bryn, who's daughter, Kelby, was born well above the 95th percentile. "Now, at 3 1/2, she's wearing a size six to eight, she's over 50 pounds and she's 42 inches tall," Bryn explains. With doctors estimating that Kelby could be 6'2" to 6'4", Bryn is concerned that Kelby will stand out and look much older than she is. She asks, "Dr. Phil, please help me develop a strategy to support and protect my Kelby."
"A doctor tries to do the best job possible when a parent comes in and says, 'Is my child OK?' And we have different ways of figuring that out. We'll check blood pressure, for example, and see if the blood pressure is too high or too low. And weighing and measuring height is the same thing. If the child fits in these curves you're talking about, that's a sign that the child is growing in a good way, that they're healthy. And if they are growing outside these curves, it doesn't mean that they're not healthy at all, but it is a red flag to follow up, to maybe ask some extra questions to make sure the growth is normal," says Dr. Karp.
Dr. Karp explains, "As a pediatrician, you don't just look at where a child is at any one point on the curve. You look at how they are growing over time. For example, if your child is at the 25th percentile, and the last visit they were at the 50th percentile, and the last visit they were at the 90th percentile, they're cutting across the curve, and that would be a red flag for me. But, on the other hand, if they're at the 25th the whole time, that's probably the growth pattern that she's going to establish. She's probably going to be a little bit more petite."
"And that doesn't mean there are bad things in the future necessarily. That's just where you are," adds Dr. Phil. "Somebody's got to be at the 25th percentile, or there wouldn't be one."
"That's true," says Dr. Karp.