In order to get the proper fit when it comes to children's clothing sizes, it's a good idea to take the height and weight of the child into consideration instead of just the numbers that refer to the age of the child. While knowing the child's age is usually easier than knowing his or her height and weight, many children are not in the size that corresponds to their age.
Baby and Toddler Clothing Sizes
Baby clothing begins with sizes for prematurely born babies (those that weigh less than four pounds). For newborn babies who are born between 36 and 42 weeks of pregnancy, the appropriate size clothing will either be 'newborn' or '3 months'. The weight recommendation for newborn size is babies between four and eight pounds, while the size for babies three months old ranges in weight from nine to 11 pounds.
Following these two sizes are sizes '6 months', '9 months', and '12 months'. While some babies will stick fairly closely to these sizes, other infants will already be in size 12 months clothing when they are nine months old. For this reason, it is always a good idea to go up a size if you are not 100 percent certain that a child is wearing a given size. Babies and children grow out of clothing fast enough; the first time the clothing is worn, it should be a little on the large side so as to ensure it can be worn for a decent amount of time.
Baby clothing also comes in sizes '18 months' and '24 months'. 18 months corresponds to a weight of 21 to 23 pounds, while 24 months corresponds to 24 to 28 pounds. Alongside the size '24 months' is the toddler size '2T' (T for toddler), which has the same weight specification as the size '24 months'. Sizes '3T' and '4T' complete the toddlers' clothing sizes, and are recommended for children in weight ranges 29 to 32 pounds and 33 to 36 pounds, respectively.
Children's Clothing Sizes
After the baby and toddler sizes, but before the clothing sizes of boys and girls in the age range of seven to 14, come the children's clothing sizes. These sizes, like the baby and toddler sizes, are identical for boys and girls.
Size 4 (recommended for children weighing between 37 and 41 pounds) is the first of the children's sizes, which is bigger than the toddler size 4T. Size 5 is 42-46 pounds, size 6 is 47-53 pounds, and size 6X is 54-58 pounds.
It is also during this series of sizes that your child's height also becomes an important consideration. Children who are skinny and tall, as well as those who are overweight for their age, may have problems finding clothing that is neither too small nor too short. If you are noticing that not everything fits the way the clothing sizes predict it should, it is time to start bringing your child with you on shopping trips so that he or she can try everything on before you buy it.
Older Children's Sizes
After the size 6X, children's clothing is divided into boys' and girls' sizes, and is determined by height and other measurements (waist, chest, etc.) instead of by weight. In addition, some brands will make distinctions between clothing that will fit tall and skinny children versus ones who may be on the plus side. If your child has special proportions, it may be well worth the effort to find one of these brands so that your child can enjoy well-fitting clothing.
Beginning with size 8, in principle for boys seven years old (50 to 53 inches tall), and progressing to sizes 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 (65 to 66 inches tall), clothing sizes for boys progress slowly in a linear manner. In general, boys' clothing is easier to fit than girls' clothing; however, it's important to watch out for growth spurts. Pants and sleeves that are too short are sure signs of too-small clothing.
For girls, children's clothing sizes are a bit more complicated than boys' sizes. The reason for this is that girls develop hips and chests at different ages, and it is often the case that a girl will develop hips and a chest suddenly, without any corresponding growth in height. For this reason, the linear manner in which girls' clothing sizes progress can be deceiving. The fit of clothing is often more important to girls than to boys, which further complicates the issue.
The standard sizes start at size 7 (intended for girls seven years old and between 51 and 52 inches tall), and go on to sizes 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16. Sizes take into consideration the height of the child, as well as the circumference around the chest, around the waist, and around the hips. Girls' sizes assume an hourglass figure (chest and hip measurements being larger than the waist measurements), which means that girls who are overweight, and have little definition between these three areas, may have difficulties finding well-fitting clothing.
The Right Size
The best way to find the right size in children's clothing is to have your child try on the clothing before you buy it. In addition, a little brand loyalty can go a long way. If you know that your child is always 'one size ahead' in a certain brand, and 'one size behind' in another brand, buying clothing from those two clothing brands is a cinch even though your child does not exactly follow the size recommendations according to his or her age, weight, or height.