Vital Sign For Infant

What are vital signs?

Vital SignInfant
Heart rate100 to 160 beats per minute (bpm)
Respiration (breaths)0 to 6 months 30 to 60 breaths per minute (bpm) 6 to 12 months 24 to 30 bpm
Blood pressure ( systolic/ diastolic) 10 to 6 months 65 to 90/45 to 65 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) 6 to 12 months 80 to 100/55 to 65 mm Hg

Vital signs:

  • Temperature. Able to maintain stable body temperature of 97.0°F to 98.6°F (36.1°C to 37°C) in normal room environment.
  • Heartbeat. Normally 120 to 160 beats per minute. …
  • Breathing rate. Normally 40 to 60 breaths per minute.
  • Blood pressure. …
  • Oxygen saturation.

Pediatric Vital Signs Chart 2022

What are vital signs?

Vital signs include heart rate, respiration (breathing rate), blood pressure, and temperature. Knowing the ranges for vital signs for your child can help you notice problems early or relieve concerns you may have about how your child is doing. The table below includes information that can help.

Vital SignInfantChildPre-Teen/Teen
0 to 12 months1 to 11 years12 and up
Heart rate100 to 160 beats per minute (bpm)70 to 120 bpm60 to 100 bpm
Respiration (breaths)0 to 6 months30 to 60 breaths per minute (bpm)6 to 12 months24 to 30 bpm1 to 5 years20 to 30 (bpm)6 to 11 years12 to 20 bpm12 to 18 bpm footnote1
Blood pressure ( systolicdiastolicfootnote10 to 6 months65 to 90/45 to 65 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg)6 to 12 months80 to 100/55 to 65 mm Hg90 to 110/55 to 75 mm Hg110 to 135/65 to 85 mm Hg
Temperature footnote2All ages
Rectal (bum)36.6 C to 38 C (97.9 F to 100.4 F)
Ear35.8 C to 38 C (96.4 F to 100.4 F)
Oral (mouth)35.5 C to 37.5 C (95.9 F to 99.5 F)
Axillary (armpit)36.5 C to 37.5 C (97.7 F to 99.5 F)

A complete physical exam is an important part of newborn care. Each body system is carefully checked for signs of health and normal function. The healthcare provider also looks for any signs of illness or birth defects. Physical exam of a newborn often includes assessment of the following:

  • Vital signs:
    • Temperature. Able to maintain stable body temperature of 97.0°F to 98.6°F (36.1°C to 37°C) in normal room environment.
    • Heartbeat. Normally 120 to 160 beats per minute. It may be much slower when an infant sleeps.
    • Breathing rate. Normally 40 to 60 breaths per minute.
    • Blood pressure. Normally an upper number (systolic) between 60 and 80, and a lower number (diastolic) between 30 and 45.
    • Oxygen saturation. Normally 95% to 100% on room air.
  • General appearance. Physical activity, muscle tone, posture, and level of consciousness or whether or not an infant is awake and alert.
  • Skin. Color, texture, nails, presence of rashes.
  • Head and neck:
    • Appearance, shape, and shaping of the head from passage through the birth canal (molding)
    • The open soft spots between the bones of the baby’s skull (fontanels)
    • Bones across the upper chest (clavicles)
  • Face. Eyes, ears, nose, cheeks. Presence of red reflex in the eyes.
  • Mouth. Roof of the mouth (palate), tongue, and throat.
  • Lungs. Breath sounds, breathing pattern.
  • Heart sounds and femoral (in the groin) pulses
  • Abdomen. Presence of masses or hernias.
  • Genitals and anus. Open passage for urine and stool and normally formed male and female genitals.
  • Neurologic. Tone, neonatal reflexes are assessed.

Newborn Vital Signs Temperature

Vital signs include heart rate, respiration (breathing rate), blood pressure, and temperature. Knowing the ranges for vital signs for your child can help you notice problems early or relieve concerns you may have about how your child is doing. The table below includes information that can help.

Vital SignInfantChildPre-Teen/Teen
 0 to 12 months1 to 11 years12 and up
 Heart rate 100 to 160 beats per minute (bpm) 70 to 120 bpm 60 to 100 bpm
 Respiration (breaths) 0 to 6 months30 to 60 breaths per minute (bpm)6 to 12 months24 to 30 bpm 1 to 5 years20 to 30 (bpm)6 to 11 years12 to 20 bpm 12 to 18 bpm footnote1
 Blood pressure ( systolicdiastolicfootnote1 0 to 6 months65 to 90/45 to 65 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg)6 to 12 months80 to 100/55 to 65 mm Hg 90 to 110/55 to 75 mm Hg 110 to 135/65 to 85 mm Hg
 Temperature footnote2All ages
 Rectal (bum) 36.6 C to 38 C (97.9 F to 100.4 F)
 Ear 35.8 C to 38 C (96.4 F to 100.4 F)
 Oral (mouth) 35.5 C to 37.5 C (95.9 F to 99.5 F)
 Axillary (armpit) 36.5 C to 37.5 C (97.8 F to 99.5 F)

Learn more

Learn more about how to take your child’s temperature, take a pulse, measure blood pressure, and count breaths with these topics:

References

Citations

  1. Harman M, et al. (2011). Pediatric emergency and resuscitation. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., p. 280. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
  2. Leduc D, et al. (2000, reaffirmed 2013). Temperature measurement in paediatrics. Canadian Paediatric Society Position Statement. Available online: http://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/temperature-measurement.

In many respects, children aren’t “little adults.” This is true when it comes to vital signs. Vital signs, or vitals for short, are a measurement of:

  • blood pressure
  • heart rate (pulse)
  • respiratory rate
  • temperature

This important information can tell a medical provider a lot about a child’s overall health.

Normal values for vital signs exist for adults, but are often different for children, depending on their age. When you take your little one to the doctor’s office, you may notice that some vital signs are lower than an adult’s, while others are higher. Here’s what to expect when it comes to vital signs and your child.

Infant vital signs

Infants have a much higher heart and respiratory (breathing) rate than adults do. An infant’s muscles aren’t highly developed yet. This is true for the heart muscle and the muscles that assist breathing.

Think of the heart muscles like a rubber band. The further you stretch a rubber band, the harder and more forcefully it “snaps” back into place. If an infant’s heart cannot stretch very much due to immature muscle fibers, it has to pump at a faster rate to maintain blood flow through the body. As a result, an infant’s heart rate is often faster. It can also be irregular.

When an infant gets older, the heart muscle can stretch and contract more effectively. This means the heart doesn’t have to beat as fast to move blood through the body.

If an infant’s heart rate is lower than normal, it’s often cause for concern. Potential causes of slow heart rate, also known as bradycardia, in infants include:

  • not enough oxygen
  • low body temperature
  • medication effects
  • a congenital heart problem

While there can be variations, given a child’s overall condition, the average vital signs for an infant are:

  • heart rate (newborn to 1 month): 85 to 190 when awake
  • heart rate (1 month to 1 year): 90 to 180 when awake
  • respiratory rate: 30 to 60 times per minute
  • temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit

Forblood pressure:

  • neonate (96 hours old to 1 month): 67 to 84 systolic blood pressure (top number) over 31 to 45 diastolic (bottom number)
  • infant (1 to 12 months): 72 to 104 systolic over 37 to 56 diastolic

Toddler vital signs

After a child turns 1, their vital signs progress more toward adult values. From age 1 to 2, they should be:

  • heart rate: 98 to 140 beats per minute
  • respiratory rate: 22 to 37 breaths per minute
  • blood pressure: systolic 86 to 106, diastolic 42 to 63
  • temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit

Preschool vital signs

When a child is 3 to 5 years old, their average vital signs are:

  • heart rate: 80 to 120 beats per minute
  • respiratory rate: 20 to 28 breaths per minutes
  • blood pressure: systolic 89 to 112, diastolic 46 to 72
  • temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit

School-age (6 to 11 years old)

The average vital signs of a child who is 6 to 11 years old are:

  • heart rate: 75 to 118 beats per minute
  • respiratory rate: 18 to 25 breaths per minute
  • blood pressure: systolic 97 to 120, diastolic 57 to 80
  • temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit

Adolescents (12 years old and up)

Adolescent vital signs are essentially the same as those of an adult. By this time, heart and breathing muscles have developed to near-adult levels:

  • heart rate: 60 to 100 beats per minute
  • respiratory rate: 12 to 20 breaths per minutes
  • blood pressure: systolic 110 to 131, diastolic 64 to 83
  • temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit

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Temperature in children

Whether child or adult, the average body temperature is about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a person’s temperature can go up and down throughout the day. Hormone swings, exercise, taking a bath, or being exposed to hot or cold weather can all affect a child’s temperature.

You can take your child’s temperature in a number of areas (provided they are still young enough to let you). Each area of the body can have different values for what constitutes a fever. According to Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center, the following values indicate fever in your child:

  • axillary: greater than 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2 degrees Celsius)
  • ear (tympanic): greater than 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit and 37.5 degrees Celsius if on oral mode (note that doctors don’t recommend taking an ear temperature on children younger than 6 months old)
  • oral: greater than 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius)
  • pacifier: greater than 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius)
  • rectal: greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius)

While having a fever is not a fun occurrence for your child, it has protective effects and can indicate that the body’s immune system is trying to fight off the infection. However, you should always call your child’s doctor if the child is younger than 3 months old and has a fever. For children older than 3 months, call your child’s pediatrician if they have a fever greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

High and low blood pressure in children

While adults commonly experience high blood pressures due to a buildup of cholesterol in their bodies (called atherosclerosis), children don’t have the same contributing factors. So when their blood pressure is either too high or too low, a doctor is often concerned.

Usually the younger a child is, the more concerned a doctor is by high or low blood pressure. Blood pressure can indicate a heart or lung defect in very young children. Examples of potential causes of high blood pressure in infants include:

  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • coarctation of the aorta
  • kidney abnormalities, such as renal artery stenosis
  • Wilms tumor

When a child is school-aged, hypertension is most likely due to being overweight, according to KidsHealth.

Hypotension, or too-low blood pressure, is pressure that is 20 mmHg lower than a child’s average blood pressure. Common causes of hypotension include blood loss, sepsis (severe infection), or a severe allergic reaction. Children with these conditions usually appear quite sick. Blood pressure below the listed averages in an otherwise well-appearing child is often normal.

Remember that heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure are all closely linked. The heart pumps blood throughout the body to ensure the blood can flow by the lungs to get oxygen and then take the oxygenated blood to the tissues. If a person doesn’t get enough oxygen, their heart rate and respiratory rate will speed up in an attempt to get more oxygen.

When to call a doctor

If you take your child’s vital signs and they deviate significantly from the norms, you may need to call your child’s doctor. Here’s what to check for:

  • You can count a child’s respirations by putting your hand on your child’s chest and feeling how often the chest rises and falls.
  • You can measure a child’s heart rate by feeling their brachial pulse, which is the pulse inside the crook or bend of the arm on your child’s “pinky finger” side of the arm.
  • Blood pressure can be checked using an automatic blood pressure cuff or a manual cuff (known as a sphygmomanometer) and stethoscope. Note, however, that the size of the blood pressure cuff can affect the reading. An adult-sized cuff will often give an incorrect reading when used on a child.

Of course, you should get the above checked at your pediatrician’s office. If your child appears active and otherwise well, an abnormal vital sign is likely not a medical emergency, but warrants a phone call or office visit. If your child seems at all sick, be sure to get them emergency medical care right away.

Takeaway

If your child doesn’t appear ill but became agitated before or while you measured vital signs, you may wish to try to measure them again when they are less upset. This can usually yield more accurate results.

Remember that vital signs are an important part of the overall picture, but it’s important to consider your child’s behavior as well.

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