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Reliability of length measurements in term infants. JOGNN 27, 270-276




Objective: To describe and compare the intra-and interexaminer reliability of four techniques for measuring length in full-term newborns and to determine whether the different techniques yield significantly different measurements.

Design: A descriptive study, describing the intra- and interexaminer reliability of four length measurement techniques: crown-heel, supine, paper barrier, and Neo-infantometer. The nurses were blind to their own and to the other nurse’s measurements. The order of the nurses and the order in which the measurements were obtained was randomized.

Setting: Mothers’ rooms in a university hospital.

Participants: Thirty-two healthy full-term newborns.

Interventions: Length measurements using four different length techniques were obtained twice each by two experienced neonatal nurses.

Main Outcome Measures: To measure the infra- and interexaminer reliability, the following statistics were calculated: mean absolute differences, standard deviations, technical error of measurement; percentage less than .5 and 1.0 cm, and percentage of error.

Results: Intra- and interexaminer differences were significantly larger when examiners used the crown-heel measurement technique. Although the intra- and interexaminer reliability of length measurements obtained with the supine, paper barrier, and Neo-infantometer techniques did not differ significantly, the amount of error in these measurements was large.

Conclusions: Measurements obtained using the crown-heel technique are significantly less reliable than measurements obtained using the supine, paper barrier, or Neo-infantometer techniques.

Author List

Johnson, T. S., Engstrom, J. L., Warda, J. A., Kabat, M., & Peters, B.


Teresa Johnson PhD Associate Professor in the Nursing department at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

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