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A comparison of two commonly used methods of weight estimation
  1. J A W Argall,
  2. N Wright,
  3. K Mackway-Jones,
  4. R Jackson
  1. Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr J A W Argall, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, UK;

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In the practice of emergency medicine, it is often necessary to know a child’s weight when planning therapeutic interventions. The majority of drug dosages are calculated on a per kilogram basis, as are resuscitative measures such as equipment sizing and fluid boluses. The most accurate method of determining a child’s weight is to weigh the child on scales. This “gold standard” should be obtained in all cases when possible. Unfortunately when resuscitating a critically ill child this is not always practicable. It is often more straightforward to use an estimation of their weight in these circumstances. However, staff members may be relatively inexperienced in which method of estimation to use, because of a lack of knowledge and confidence.

A number of methods have been developed to estimate the child’s weight in these circumstances. When “guesstimation” is used the accuracy is poor.1 An alternative is to use a parental estimate. Several studies have found this to be variable and that significant errors can occur.2–4

One method of weight estimation commonly used in the United Kingdom, and taught on the Advanced Paediatric Life Support …

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