Happi Kids are healthy kids

Thanks to the dedicated support of RCH1000 members, Professor Paul Monagle and his team are continuing their vital research on age-specific references for blood samples in children and young people with the HAPPI Kids II pathology study.


Blood tests are vital in diagnosing whether an individual is sick, monitoring the progress of their illness and treatment, or confirming if they are, medically speaking, ‘normal’. Normal is considered as a reading in the range where 95 per cent of the population lie when in good health and is what blood tests are measured against. However, the normal range changes with age and what is a normal reading for an adult is very different to that of a child.

The HAPPI Kids I study, funded by RCH1000 addressed this dilemma by collecting blood samples from ‘normal’ healthy babies and children from birth to 18 years old and used this data to build a new paediatric-centred database. Researchers can now measure the blood tests of sick children against data that is more relevant to what is normal for their age. This research is a significant step forward in understanding the clinical use of these tests in children not only at the RCH, but in the wider medical community in Australia and abroad.


Building on the vital data gathered in HAPPI Kids I, the second stage of this study is expanding to support the diagnoses, monitoring and treatment of more complex blood conditions.

Using the same methods as HAPPI Kids I, highly trained pathology collectors are working in collaboration with The Royal Women’s, Sunshine and Northern Hospitals to obtain samples from ‘healthy’ newborn and prematurely born babies to those aged up to 18 who are visiting hospital for minor day surgery.

“The study involves all the campus partners and is logistically challenging to administer. For each sample we collect from a child of a certain age we need to determine what tests we need on that age group. Each of the tests requires samples in a different medium and so our collectors have to know which mediums to collect in, then samples have to go to the right labs for processing,” said Professor Paul Monagle.

“Before HAPPI Kids I it was argued that doing reference ranges in children the way we are doing it was not possible. A part of what we did with HAPPI Kids I and what we’re currently doing with HAPPI Kids II is demonstrating that it is possible no matter the complexity. We are so appreciative of RCH1000 support because this study is fundamental to the care of our children.”

Join RCH1000