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Measuring newborns

Development of instruments to measure the body length and head circumference of newborns

Publication date: 01 September 2015

Systematic measurements of weight, body length and head circumference provide valuable and relevant information on the development of a newborn baby. Current methods for measuring body length and head circumference are sub-optimal. It is desirable to redesign the current instruments to maintain the best possible “healing environment” in the incubator: little stimuli (sound, light, movement) and keeping it clean.


Currently, to measure body length, a large, inept measuring instrument is placed in the incubator. The measurement requires lots of skills and caution of the two nurses. In addition, the baby is exposed to lots of unnecessary stimuli and bacteria, which are undesirable for a “healing environment”.

The head circumference is measured using a standard “flexible tape-measure”, albeit shortened. This instrument is too rough, should be sufficiently clean with every measurement and, moreover, the reliability of the measurements is weak.