Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Comparing the usability of paediatric weight estimation methods: A simulation study

Marlow, Robin D.; Wood, Dora L.B.; Lyttle, Mark D.

Comparing the usability of paediatric weight estimation methods: A simulation study Thumbnail


Robin D. Marlow

Dora L.B. Wood


© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. Objective Estimating weight is essential in order to prepare appropriate sized equipment and doses of resuscitation drugs in cases where children are critically ill or injured. Many methods exist with varying degrees of complexity and accuracy. The most recent version of the Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) course has changed their teaching from an age-based calculation method to the use of a reference table. We aimed to evaluate the potential implications of this change. Method Using a bespoke online simulation platform we assessed the ability of acute paediatric staff to apply different methods of weight estimation. Comparing the time taken, rate and magnitude of errors were made using the APLS single and triple age-based formulae, Best Guess and reference table methods. To add urgency and an element of cognitive stress, a time-based competitive component was included. Results 57 participants performed a total of 2240 estimates of weight. The reference table was the fastest (25 (22-28) vs 35 (31-38) to 48 (43-51) s) and most preferred, but errors were made using all methods. There was no significant difference in the percentage accuracy between methods (93%-97%) but the magnitude of errors made was significantly smaller using the three APLS formulae 10% (6.5-21) compared with reference table (69% (34-133)) mainly from month/year table confusion. Conclusion In this exploratory study under psychological stress none of the methods of weight estimation were free from error. Reference tables were the fastest method and also had the largest errors and should be designed to minimise the risk of picking errors.


Marlow, R. D., Wood, D. L., & Lyttle, M. D. (2019). Comparing the usability of paediatric weight estimation methods: A simulation study. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 104(2), 121-123.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 18, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 5, 2018
Publication Date Feb 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 12, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 12, 2018
Journal Archives of Disease in Childhood
Print ISSN 0003-9888
Electronic ISSN 1468-2044
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 104
Issue 2
Pages 121-123
Keywords weight estimation, paediatric, simulation
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published version is available here:


You might also like

Downloadable Citations