Estimation of Children’s Weight in Medical Emergencies
In medical emergencies drug dosage, equipment sizing and electrical countershock dose are based on a child’s weight. Severity of illness and urgency of treatment usually preclude formal measurement of weight on scales. Incorrect weight estimation could result in drug toxicity or sub-therapeutic treatment, both of which may carry serious adverse outcomes. Methods for estimating weight rely on age–length–weight relationships and include age-based formulae and length-based methods. An alternative is visual estimation of weight by a parent or clinician. Available evidence suggests that parental estimation is the most accurate [where the parent is prepared to give an estimate], followed by length-based methods such as the Broselow Tape with age-based formulae being least accurate. Among the age-based formulae, the Best Guess formulae appear to perform best. Challenges to the age- and length-based methods are significant inter-ethnic variation in the age–height–weight relationship, the trend towards increasing weight across the world and how to factor body habitus into estimation methods in a way which is easily applied.
KeywordsObesity Toxicity Epinephrine Kelly
Root mean square error