Different Stages and Danger Signs of Child Growth and Development

Child Growth and Development: Different Stages and Danger Signs

Definition of Child:

According to UN convention on the rights of children all human offspring aged 0 to 18 years are children. A child is a human being between the stages of birth and puberty. The legal definition of child generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority.

Different stages and danger signs of child growth and development
Fig: Different stages and danger signs of child growth and development

Different Stages of Child Growth and Development:

Stages of a Child’s life:

1. Intrauterine period:

  • Ovum: 0-2 weeks
  • Embryo: 2-9 weeks
  • Foetus:9 weeks to birth

2. Neonatal period: Birth to 4 weeks of age

3. Infancy: Birth to 1 year of age

4. Toddler stage: 1-3 years of age

5. Preschool age: 3-6 years of age

6. School age: 6-10 years of age

7. Adolescence: 10-19 years of age

Danger Signs of Child Development:

By looking some of the signs at appropriate age one can assume that the child is not developing properly. These signs if present indicate developmental delay and requires immediate assessment and intervention with appropriate management preferably in a child development center.


Danger sign /Warning sign

By the age of one

  • Poor suckling at the breast or refusing to suckle.
  • Little movement of arms and legs.
  • Little or no reaction to loud sounds or bright lights.
  • Crying for long periods for no apparent reason.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration.

By the age of six

  • Stiffness or difficulty moving limbs.
  • Constant moving of the head (this might indicate an ear infection; also indicate deafness, blindness, mental retardation).
  • Little or no response to sounds familiar faces or the breast.
  • Refusing the breast or other food.
  • Absence of neck control, persistence of premature reflex.

By the age of 12

  • Does not make sounds in response to others.
  • Does not look at objects that move.
  • Listless and does not respond to the care giver.
  • Has no appetite or refuses food.

By the age of 2

  • Lack of response to others.
  • Difficulty keeping balance while walking.
  • Injuries and unexplained changes in behavior. (Especially if the child has been cared for by others).
  • Lack of appetite.

By the age of 3

  • Loss of interest in playing.
  • Frequent falling.
  • Difficulty manipulating small objects.
  • Failure to understand simple messages.
  • Inability to speak using several words.
  • Little or no interest in food.

By the age of 5

  • Observe the roles children take in play. If the child is fearful, angry or ‘violent, these may be signs of emotional problems or abuse.

How will You Assess the Growth of a Child?

Assessment of Growth of a


  • At birth- 50 cm
  • 1 year – 75 cm
  • 2 years – 80 cm
  • 3 years – increase 5 cm/year


Birth weight: 2.5-4.0 kg

  • First 3 months: 30 g
  • 3-6 months: 20 g (birth weight doubles by 5-6 months of age)
  • 6-9 months: 15 g
  • 9-12 months: 12 g (birth weight triples by first birthday)
  • 1-3years: 8 g (around3 kg/year). Birth weight quadruples by 2 years of age.
  • 4-6years: 6g (around 2 kg/year); this rate of gain continues till the onset of puberty.


  • At birth -35 cm
  • 1 year – 45 cm
  • 2 years – 48 cm

Mid arm

  • Normal- > 13.5 cm
  • Borderline PEM – 12.5 – 13.5 cm
  • Malnourished -< 12.5 cm

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