Short Height in Children

Child at a pediatrician office getting height measured.

Your child seems short next to other children of the same age. Should you worry? Most likely, you don't need to. 

Some children grow more slowly than others. Height in the low normal range is still normal, healthcare providers say. If the parents are short, it is likely that their children will be, too.

Ask your child's healthcare provider  

Although being short is common, growth disorders are not. Don't ignore your concerns—talk with your child's healthcare provider. During well-child checkups, your child's height and weight are measured. These measurements are compared to other children of the same age.

Growth and growth problems

Here are some common causes of growth problems:

  • Periods of less rapid growth may follow growth spurts.

  • A small child who stops growing may have a problem.

  • A small child who's growing at a normal rate usually does not have a problem.

  • Chronic illness, poor nutrition, and hormone problems can affect growth.

Your child's healthcare provider may order tests if he or she thinks your child has a growth problem.

Causes of short height

Here are some common causes of short height:

  • Family history. For example, sshort parents often have short children.

  • Growth delay

  • Illnesses that affect the whole body.

  • Poor nutrition

  • Hormone diseases, such as lack of thyroid or growth hormones

  • Medicine side effect

  • Chromosome abnormalities

Prescribing hormones

Can growth hormones help? Yes, but only in some children and only if the hormones are given before the bones finish growing. If you're concerned about your child's height, talk with his or her provider to see if growth hormones might be appropriate.