Welcome to the INfant and Child Health Lab (INCH)

Welcome to INfant and Child Health Lab (INCH)

Welcome to the Infant and Child Health (INCH) lab! We are a group of dedicated individuals conducting research focusing on children’s mental and physical health.

Our major studies focus on assessing child development through screening tools and tracking coordination and motor development in children over time. We are also very excited to be broadening our research in the areas of physical literacy, physical activity, and cognitive functioning.

Our lab has made significant contributions to health research and the understanding of different areas of child development, especially motor coordination and development. The results from our studies are used daily by healthcare practitioners, parents and caregivers.




      Purpose and goals

  • Conduct research focusing on the mental and physical health of infants and children

  • Provide excellent research and training opportunities for students

  • Collaborate with other researchers and institutions to make significant contributions to health research pertaining to children

  • Understand child development in clinical- and community-based populations

  • Foster a warm and inviting environment for children and families participating in research studies 

About INCH

In 2013, Dr. Cairney created the Infant and Child Health (INCH) Research Lab. The INCH lab has gained recognition as a hub of excellence in child health research. It has also served as an effective knowledge translation/exchange centre, where partnerships with multiple stakeholders outside academia, from government to community agencies, have developed. Occupying nearly 2,000sq.ft. on the first floor of the David Braley Health Sciences Centre (DBHSC) in downtown Hamilton, the lab is a child-friendly space, where families have been bringing their children since Fall 2015 to participate in the INCH lab studies, including CATCH, Early Years Check In, and FitKids, which has a special focus on children with autism. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art pediatric exercise, body composition, and motor testing equipment, including a pediatric treadmill and cycle ergometer, Polar heart rate monitors, bioelectrical impedance analysis device, accelerometers, and a range of motor skill assessment tools.



Although Dr. Cairney has now moved to the University of Toronto (UofT) full-time, he continues to be Director of INCH and oversees both the McMaster and UofT INCH sites. The INCH lab provides a novel and important collaboration that will increase training and research capacity at both UofT (Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education) and McMaster University (Department of Family Medicine). A satellite lab has now opened at the UofT St. George campus in a 960 sq.ft. space in the Warren Stevens Building. The new lab has the same general configuration as the existing Hamilton lab (comfortable waiting area for parents; private room for interviews; motor, exercise and body composition testing), with the same equipment listed above purchased to ensure complete compatibility across sites.


Families who participate in our studies come from the Niagara, greater Hamilton, Halton, and Peel regions and we are most appreciative of their time and dedication. With the introduction of a second INCH Lab location we hope we can continue to offer families the convenience and flexibility for continued participation, as well as use our new connection with the Toronto community to design and test novel questions at the UofT INCH lab.


Site Users

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Getting Involved

Resources for Parents

Resources for Parents are HERE!

Dr. John Cairney

Current Projects

Acute Effects of Exercise

A pilot study of the effect of acute exercise on executive functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder

Physical Activity & Mental Health

A Scoping Review of the Effects of Physical Activity on Mental Health Outcomes in Children and Adolescents (0-18 years) with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Completed Projects


Fun Learning Activities in ScHool (FLASH) Study



The INCH lab has a large interdisciplinary team working together, including clinicians, researchers, and dedicated research staff. INCH is also committed to training the next generation of researchers and clinical-scientists, drawing students from programs in kinesiology, and health and rehabilitation sciences.

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