This is a particularly important question that need answers. There are growth charts which help to understand if a child is short in comparison to children of the same age and sex. Since children in different ethnicities have different growth rates, it is important that we compare children with other children of the same ethnicity. Some clues to understand if your child is growing normally is to
1. See if he/she is outgrowing his/her clothes
2. Is he/she significantly shorter than other kids of his/her age and class
3. Was he/she smaller than other kids at birth (say birth weight less than 2.8 kg)?
4. Is he/she funny looking? (as commented by others)
5. Their height is not in keeping with parent’s height
5. You have a gut feeling that he/she is not normal
Yes, it is important to get kids checked out for height. Although poor height apparently is a cosmetic problem, it could also be an important sign of many diseases. This could be related to nutrition, gastrointestinal diseases, kidney diseases, respiratory or cardiac diseases, thyroid diseases, growth hormone related problems or even a brain tumor. Most of these are uncommon. The most common reason is a constitution delay in growth and puberty. It is not only important to get the child examined by an endocrinologist, but also a 6-12 month follow up to understand the growth velocity. More delayed the visit for medical care, the lesser the options for treatment.
Dr. Mathew John