How to determine children's clothing sizes

Written by amber keefer
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You may want your child to look stylish in the clothing she wears, but you also want that clothing to fit her well for maximum comfort. However, finding the right size is not always as easy as it might seem, as even children the same age grow at different rates. Because children can grow quickly into the next size, it generally makes better sense to buy clothes for children as they need them. When it is time to purchase new clothing, go by your child's height and weight rather than her age.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Growth chart
  • Tape measure
  • Baby scale
  • Bathroom scale

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  1. 1

    Measure your child's height by standing her up against a growth chart with her shoes off. You can use a growth chart once a toddler is old enough to stand balanced on her own. Instruct her to stand with her back straight against the wall, eyes looking straight ahead. Have her stand with shoulders relaxed, arms at her sides, legs straight and heels together. Place a ruler on top of her head, and mark off the spot. Measure her height in inches, reading the chart to the nearest eighth of an inch.

  2. 2

    Use a tape measure to measure your baby's length rather than height. Lay your baby on her back. Position her head against the wall, and then place the tape measure from the wall down to your infant's heels gently holding her knees together.

  3. 3

    Find your child's height and weight on the manufacturer's size chart usually found on clothing tags or packages. Go with the larger size if your child's height and/or weight measurements fall somewhere between two different sizes. If you are still unsure about which size to choose, remember that height tends to be a better indicator of a child's size than weight.

  4. 4

    Keep in mind that clothing made of cotton fabrics usually shrink some after laundering. While you do not want clothing that will be too big to fit your child, in most cases, you can safely go one size larger.

  5. 5

    Weigh your child by having her stand on the bathroom scale. In most cases, children can do this by age 2. Remove your child's shoes and clothing first. While she should be undressed for a more accurate weight, she can keep her underwear on. Go by the number of pounds that your child weighs.

  6. 6

    Use a baby scale to weigh an infant or a baby who cannot yet stand. Weigh the child undressed without a diaper. If you do not have a baby scale, step onto the bathroom scale holding your baby. Then weigh yourself alone. Subtract your weight from the previous combined weight. This will give you your baby's weight.

  7. 7

    Choose separates when buying new clothes for a child. Children often wear a different size top than trousers; therefore, matched outfits are not always a practical choice. Separates can also be mixed and matched so that a child gets more mileage out of her wardrobe. Select clothing that has adjustable straps, elastic waists and trousers with cuffs to allow children room to grow.

Tips and warnings

  • When your child is old enough, take her along to try on clothing before you buy.
  • Size charts provide a general guideline and can vary among designers and manufacturers, as different measurements may be used to fit clothing.

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