Normal Pediatric Vital Signs Chart
The four basic vital signs are:
- Body temperature.
- Respiratory rate.
Healthcare providers check these during exams to get a snapshot of your childs overall health.
The normal range for pediatric vital signs can vary quite a lot depending on your childs age and other factors. For instance, the normal infant heart rate is much higher than the normal heart rate for a 12-year-old.
You can check your childs vital signs at home. But Dr. Sniderman assures you that you typically dont need to.
Generally, parents dont need to monitor their childrens vital signs. Theyre usually only a concern if your child isnt feeling well, and vital signs are also out of the healthy range.
When To Visit A Doctor
Often, arrhythmia or abnormal heart rate is the result of a change in physical activity, making it a common occurrence in children. However, if your childs heart rate is too fast or slow, regardless of the physical activity, and if it happens often, a medical check-up is necessary. Sometimes, erratic heart rate in children is the result of an underlying heart problem, which you should not neglect.
Symptoms Of Irregular Heartbeat In Children
Arrhythmias make the heart beat less effectively, interrupting blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body. When the heart beats too fast, its chambers cant fill with enough blood. When it beats too slowly or irregularly, it cant pump enough blood out to the body.
If the body doesnt get the supply of blood it needs to run smoothly, a person might have:
- Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
- Shortness of breath
Arrhythmias can be constant, but most come and go at random. Some cause no noticeable symptoms. In these cases, the arrhythmia may be found only during a physical examination or heart function test.
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When Heart Rate Is Too High
Having a heart rate that’s considered too high is called tachycardia. In general, tachycardia refers to a heart rate that is above 100 beats per minute. This can be dangerous, but isn’t always.
There are different types of tachycardia. A higher heart rate naturally occurs when you’re exercising, for example. You can also experience tachycardia during scary or stressful events, if you consume a lot of caffeine, or if you are a heavy smoker.
Tachycardia can also occur when the electrical signals in your heart that cause it to beat are firing abnormally. Because your heart is beating faster than it should, it can’t fill back up completely. As a result, less blood is delivered to the rest of your body.
In some cases, tachycardia does not cause any symptoms. In others, it can cause:
Centiles Of Normal Respiratory Rate
The 1st to 99th centiles of respiratory rate in normal children from birth to 18 years of age are displayed in Figure 2. These demonstrate the decline in respiratory rate from birth to early adolescence, with the steepest decline apparent in infants during the first two years of life. The median respiratory rate decreases by 40% in these two years . Web Table 4 presents the proposed cut-offs for respiratory rate at each of 13 age groups from birth to 18 years of age.
Centiles of respiratory rate for normal children from birth to 18 years of age
The subgroup analysis of the respiratory rate data showed no significant differences based on the type of study setting , level of economic development of the country in which it was carried out , wakefulness of the child , or whether manual or automated methods of measurement were used . Regression analysis on the dates of publication did not show any significant difference in measured respiratory rate .
Comparison of respiratory rate centiles with paediatric reference ranges from the Advanced Paediatric Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support guidelines.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of An Arrhythmia
Arrhythmias make the heart beat less effectively, interrupting blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body. When the heart beats too fast, its chambers can’t fill with enough blood. When it beats too slowly or irregularly, it can’t pump enough blood out to the body.
If the body doesn’t get the supply of blood it needs to run smoothly, a person might feel:
- dizzy and even faint
- fluttering or pounding in the chest
- short of breath
Arrhythmias can be constant, but most come and go at random. Some cause no noticeable symptoms at all. In these cases, the arrhythmia is only found during a physical exam or a heart function test.
Irregular Heartbeat In Children
Arrhythmia in children also is called an irregular heartbeat. Both terms describe an abnormal heart rhythm. Most arrhythmias are caused by an electrical short circuit in the heart.
The heart normally beats in a consistent pattern, but an arrhythmia can make it beat too slowly, too quickly or irregularly. This uneven pumping activity can lead to a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness and chest pain.
Many arrhythmias dont need medical care, but some can cause health issues and need to be evaluated and treated by a doctor.
At Norton Childrens Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, electrophysiologists work closely with specially trained nurses and technicians in the electrophysiology laboratory to fully evaluate, treat and often cure irregular heartbeat in children.
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Healthy Heart Rates For Children Of Different Age Group
Resting heart rate is the heart rate of a child when he/she sits quietly. A normal resting heart rate tends to vary according to the age of children.
- 70-190 heartbeats per minute can be considered healthy for newborns
- 80-160 heartbeats minute is a healthy range for infants
- 80-130 heartbeats per minute is considered healthy for children aged 1-2 years
- 80-120 heartbeats per minute is considered healthy for children aged 3-4 years
- 75-115 heartbeats per minute is considered healthy for children aged 5-6 years
- 70-110 heartbeats per minute is considered healthy for children aged 7-9 years
- 60-1000 heartbeats per minute is considered healthy for children older than 10 years
Your childs heart rate is likely to stay within these ranges, even if you feel the pulse is very rapid. Knowing how to check the pulse of your child and understanding that there can be variations helps keep track and avoid any possible concerns.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you suspect that you or your child has a heart rate that is too high or too low, see your healthcare provider. You’ll likely have testing done to determine the cause of your symptoms.
An electrocardiogram is commonly the first test performed to determine the cause of an abnormal heart rate. During this test, electrodes are attached to your chest to detect the electrical impulses as they pass through your heart.
Your doctor might also have you wear a portable heart monitor for a day to record your heartbeat for longer periods of time.
What Affects Body Temperature In Children
If your child has a high temperature of over 100.4 F or 38 C , it could be a sign of a bacterial or viral infection. A high temperature can also be due to heatstroke, which needs medical attention right away.
When should you be concerned about a fever?
Generally, a temperature over 104 F could signal something serious. Call your childs pediatrician, Dr. Sniderman advises. Less than that, and you may be able to break their fever at home.
Low body temperature can also be a sign of serious infection, especially in infants. Sometimes, a low temperature is due to a problem with the thermometer or not taking the temperature correctly. But if a low temperature at home is accurate, its a good idea to contact your pediatrician.
When To Call Your Pediatrician
A very fast or slow heart rate can be a medical emergency, especially if your child has any symptoms associated with it, such as:
Seek medical attention right away in this situation.
It’s also important to talk to your pediatrician if your child always seems to be at either the upper or lower limits of normal. For example, tell your child’s doctor if:
- Your child is at the low end of the age range for their pulse rate, even when running around and playing.
- They are always at the upper end of normal for their pulse rate, even when sleeping.
A heart rate above the upper limit of normal may be a sign of an underlying heart condition. It could also be a clue to other problems in the body, such as an infection or a metabolic condition.
In addition to the pulse rate , the rhythm of the pulse can also be regular or irregular. An irregular heart rate can signal a heart problem.
It’s a good idea to contact your pediatrician if you think your child’s pulse feels erratic or unsteady, especially if it happens often or lasts a long time.
Any type of abnormal heart ratewhether in the rate or rhythmis called arrhythmia. Not all arrhythmias are a cause for concern. Some are harmless, but others may require medical treatment.
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How To Check The Heart Rate Of Your Child
It is simple to measure the pulse of your child. There are multiple places on the body where the pulse can be checked, including the side of the neck, inside the elbow, and the wrist. The wrist would be the easiest and most accessible place for most parents. For checking the heart rate of your child, you need to place your fingers on their wrist and apply pressure gently until you start feeling the pulse against your fingertips. You can count the beats for 15 seconds. The heart rate of your child would be 4 times that number. Finding the pulse in infants and younger children is harder and you might need the help of a medical professional to take the pulse of your child.
What Is Maximum Heart Rate
Your maximum heart rate is, on average, the highest your pulse can get. One way to get a rough estimate of your predicted maximum is to subtract your age from the number 220.
For example, a 40-year-old’s predicted maximum heart rate is about 180 beats per minute.
You can learn your actual maximum heart rate with a graded exercise test. If youâre taking medicines or have a medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, ask your doctor whether you should adjust your exercise plan to keep your heart rate under a specific number.
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Your Pulse And Target Heart Rate
Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout your body. Your pulse is your heart rate, or the number of times your heart beats in one minute. This varies from person to person, and it might also vary throughout the day. Your pulse is lower when you are at rest, and it increases when you exercise.
What Is Your Heart Rate
Knowing how to find your pulse can help you figure out your best exercise program. If youâre taking heart medications, recording your pulse daily and reporting the results to your doctor can help them learn whether your treatment is working.
Blood pressure vs. heart rate
Your heart rate is separate from your blood pressure. Thatâs the force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels.
A faster pulse doesnât necessarily mean higher blood pressure. When your heart speeds up, like when you exercise, your blood vessels should expand to let more blood pass through.
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What’s A Normal Heart Rate
Heart rate is measured by counting the number of beats per minute. Someone’s normal heart rate depends on things like the person’s age and whether they lead an active lifestyle.
The resting heart rate decreases as kids get older. Typical normal resting heart rate ranges are:
- babies : 100150 beats per minute
- kids 13 years old: 70110 beats per minute
- kids by age 12: 5585 beats per minute
A doctor can determine whether a heart rate is abnormally fast or slow, depending on a person’s situation. An older child or adult with a slow heart rate, for example, might have symptoms when the heart rate drops below 50 beats per minute. But trained athletes have a lower resting heart rate, so a slow heart rate in them isn’t considered abnormal if it causes no symptoms.
Role Of The Funding Source
The sponsors of the study had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, writing of the report or the decision to submit the paper for publication. SF had full access to all the data in the study, and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.
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Normal Blood Pressure In Children
Several factors can influence a childs blood pressure. Age, height and weight all cause variations in blood pressure readings. These numbers, given as systolic/diastolic in mm Hg, are general guidelines:
- 0 to 3 months: 6585/4555.
- 3 to 6 months: 7090/5065.
- 6 to 12 months: 80100/5565.
- 1 to 3 years: 90105/5570.
- 3 to 6 years: 95110/6075.
- 6 to 12 years: 100120/6075.
- 12 to 18 years: 100120/7080.
What Are The Types Of Irregular Heartbeats In Children
Many children are diagnosed with heartbeat irregularities including:
- Sinus arrhythmia: This is the most common type of irregular heartbeat in children. It causes a faster heartbeat when children inhale, and a slower heartbeat when they exhale. Its a normal finding that doesnt require treatment.
- Skipped beats: Your child may feel like their heart has skipped a beat, but it simply beats slightly sooner and more forcefully than expected. This is a common experience among children, and it doesnt require treatment .
- Supraventricular tachycardia :Children with this condition have a faster-than-normal heartbeat, but it can be brought back to a normal rate with medication. Sometimes, when babies are diagnosed and treated, the symptoms disappear.
- Long QT syndrome: This condition is less common and runs in families. It causes a childs heart to beat very quickly. This syndrome may be managed effectively with medication. Sometimes, an implantable defibrillator may be recommended.
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome: This condition is rare and occurs when a child is born with an extra electrical pathway within the heart. This pathway can result in very fast and erratic heart beats. Medication may be helpful, but one medical procedure, an ablation, is curative.
- Cardiomyopathy: This is a rare condition that is caused by an abnormality in the heart muscle.
- Atrial fibrillation: This is more common in adults, but it can run in families, and be diagnosed in children.
When To Take Your Childs Pulse
Usually, there is no need for you to check your childs heart rate. The doctor will be doing it during good checkups. But if your child has a medical condition that requires you to monitor his heart rate from time to time, your doctor will tell you when and how to take the pulse. You should take a pulse of your child if:
- If your child complains of heart palpitations
- He feels that the heart is skipping a beat
- Has chest pain and feels dizzy
- He is not asthmatic but has trouble breathing
- He suddenly becomes unconscious or blacks out
- His skin turns pale, and his lips become blue
Take your childs pulse immediately and let your doctor know about this and also the activity that caused these symptoms.
Normal Respiratory Rate In Children
Respiratory rates vary a lot by age, and its normal for a baby to breathe much faster than an older child.
The normal respiratory rates for children by age group, in breaths per minute:
- 0 to 3 months: 3060.
- 3 to 6 months: 3045.
- 6 to 12 months: 2540.
- 1 to 3 years: 2030.
- 3 to 6 years: 2025.
- 6 to 12 years: 1422.
- 12 to 18 years: 1218.
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What Factors Affect The Heart Rate Of A Child
As is the case with adults, the heart rate of children also varies based on the level of activity, whether they are awake or asleep, or whether they are stressed or calm, healthy or sick. Typically, the heart rate of a child is not an indicator of an underlying heart problem. The heart rate of children can become rapid because of anything that makes them uncomfortable or excited. The rise of heart rate is their natural stress response. Children can have a faster heart rate when they:
- Play or exercise vigorously
- Suffer from illness or fever
- Drink too much energy drinks or caffeine
- Are dehydrated.
In each of the above cases, if your child has a rapid heart rate, it is usually nothing to worry about. However, excessive caffeine intake can cause issues. You also have to remember that the heart of a child beats faster as compared to the heart of an adult. So, it is no need to be alarmed if their heart rate is much faster while exercising than an adult heart rate.
Having said that, if your child does experience other symptoms such as trouble breathing or chest pain that is accompanied by a rapid heart rate, there might be a need for medical attention. In general, if the pulse of your child is too fast for you to count, you may have to visit Rainbow Childrens Heart Institute, the top heart specialist hospital in Hyderabad.