There has been increasing interest in adjusting CT radiation dose data for patient body size. A method for automated computation of the abdominal effective diameter of a patient from a CT image has previously only been tested in adult patients. In this work, we tested the method on a set of 128 pediatric patients aged 0.8 to 12.9 years (average 8.0 years, SD = 3.7 years) who had CT abdomen/pelvis exams performed on a Toshiba Aquilion 64 scanner. For this set of patients, age-predicted abdominal effective diameter extrapolated based on data from the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements was a relatively poor predictor of measured effective diameter. The mean absolute percentage error between the CTDI normalization coefficient calculated from a manually measured effective diameter and the coefficient determined by age-predicted effective diameter was 12.3 % with respect to a 32 cm phantom (range 0.0–52.8 %, SD 8.7 %) and 12.9 % with respect to a 16 cm phantom (range 0.0–56.4 %, SD 9.2 %). In contrast, there is a close correspondence between the automated and manually measured patient effective diameters, with a mean absolute error of 0.6 cm (error range 0.2–1.3 cm). This correspondence translates into a high degree of correspondence between normalization coefficients determined by automated and manual measurements; the mean absolute percentage error was 2.1 % with respect to a 32 cm phantom (range 0.0–8.1 %, SD = 1.4 %) and 2.3 % with respect to a 16 cm phantom (range 0.0–9.3 %, SD = 1.6 %).