home

What are your concerns?

close
Inaccurate
Hard to understand
Other

Share


Or copy link

New

What Are Normal Pediatric Vital Signs? An Essential Guide for Parents

What Are Normal Pediatric Vital Signs? An Essential Guide for Parents

It is essential for parents to understand normal pediatric vital signs to find out the health condition of their little one. When vital signs are not normal, this could be a sign of illness or problems in development. There are a number of important differences in the vital signs of infants, children under five years old and adolescents. What are the normal pediatric vital signs from infants to school-age children? How can you find them? Learn how here.

What Are Vital Signs?

According to John Hopkins Medicine, vital signs are a measure of how the body’s vital organs are functioning.

There are four signs that healthcare professionals always monitor, namely:

  • body temperature
  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • respiratory rate

Medics do not usually consider blood pressure to be a vital sign, but often measure it in conjunction with other vital signs.

Measuring and monitoring normal vital signs is essential for detecting health problems. To measure normal pediatric vital signs, parents can use simple medical tools, such as thermometers.

Normal Pediatric Vital Signs

Basically, there are differences in vital signs between infants, toddlers, and children because the organs of the body have different ways of functioning at each age.

The following are normal pediatric vital signs that parents need to know.

Normal Pediatric Vital Signs in Infants (0-12 months)

The following are normal vital signs for infants aged 0-12 months.

Heart Rate

  • Infants younger than 28 days: 100-205 beats per minute when awake, 90-160 beats per minute while sleeping
  • Infants aged 1-12 months: 100-190 beats per minute when awake, 90-160 beats per minute while sleeping

Blood pressure

  • Newborns weighing less than 1000 grams: systolic pressure of 39-59, diastolic pressure of 16-36
  • Newborns weighing more than 1000 grams: systolic pressure of 60-76, diastolic pressure of 31-45
  • Age 0-1 months: systolic pressure of 67-84, diastolic pressure of 35-53
  • Age 1-12 months: systolic pressure of 72-104, diastolic pressure of 37-56

Respiratory Rate

  • Infants aged 1-12 months: 30-60 breaths per minute

Body temperature

  • 36.4°C

Newborns have a higher heart rate and respiratory rate than adults. This is because the baby’s heart is not yet fully developed. As the baby gets older, the heart muscle can stretch or expand more effectively so that the heart rate is not as high.

Normal Pediatric Vital Signs in Toddlers (1-2 years)

As children reach their toddler years, their physical development has progressed significantly. Their heart rate is not as fast as when they were babies, and their blood pressure is now greater.

The following are normal vital signs for children aged 1-2 years.

Heart Rate

Children aged 1-2 years: 98-140 beats per minute when awake, 80-120 beats per minute while sleeping

Blood Pressure

Children aged 1-2 years: systolic pressure of 86-106, diastolic pressure of 42-63

Respiratory Rate

Children aged 1-3 years: 24-40 breaths per minute

Body Temperature

36.4°C

Normal Pediatric Vital Signs for Preschool Children (3-5 years)

With increasing age, there is also a change in the vital signs of a child. The following are the normal pediatric vital signs of children aged 3-5 years.

Heart Rate

Children aged 3-5 years: 80-120 beats per minute when awake, 65-100 beats per minute while sleeping

Blood Pressure

Children aged 3-5 years: systolic pressure of 89-112, diastolic pressure of 46-72

Respiratory Rate

Children aged 3-6 years: 22-34 breaths per minute

Body Temperature

36.4°C

Children have a fever when their body temperature is more than 37.5°C. If your child has a fever, continue to monitor their vital signs to see if their condition is still good or if it is getting worse.

Normal Pediatric Vital Signs for Children Aged 6-9 Years

It is still necessary for parents to monitor vital signs when their children enter school age as they continue to grow and develop.

The following are normal vital signs for children aged 6-9 years.

Heart Rate

Children aged 6-11 years: 75-118 beats per minute when awake, 58-90 beats per minute while sleeping

Blood Pressure

Children aged 6-9 years: systolic pressure of 97-115, diastolic pressure of 57-76

Respiratory Rate

Children aged 6-12 years: 18-30 breaths per minute

Body Temperature

36.4°C

How To Measure Vital Signs in Children

Doctors have several tools to measure vital signs. For example, a stethoscope can help them to measure heart rate while a sphygmomanometer measures blood pressure.

Here are some simple ways parents can determine if their child has normal pediatric vital signs at home.

Pulse/Heart Rate

You can find the pulse on the side of the neck, inside the elbow, or on the inside of the wrist. The easiest way to measure the pulse is on the wrist.

This is how to check the pulse on the wrist precisely:

  • Use the tips of the middle and index fingers.
  • Press the artery in the child’s wrist until you feel a pulse.
  • Start counting the pulse when the hour hand is at 12.
  • Count the pulse for 60 seconds.
  • Concentrate on the pulse and avoid looking at the clock continuously.

Respiratory Rate

Parents can check their child’s respiratory rate by counting the number of breaths the child takes each minute.

The count is performed when the child is at rest. Each count corresponds to the number of times the child’s chest rises while inhaling.

An increased respiratory rate could signal a health problem, such as a fever.

Blood Pressure

In contrast to pulse and respiration, which you can measure without an instrument, a blood pressure measurement requires a sphygmomanometer. You can buy this tool at pharmacies or medical supply stores.

Body Temperature

A thermometer is a very important tool for parents to have because children commonly experience fevers, for example when the child has just finished a round of immunization.

There are different types of thermometers with different measurement locations. Depending on the kind of thermometer, you can measure a child’s temperature via the forehead, armpits, mouth, or rectum.

When Should You Go to the Doctor?

Changes in vital signs in children are normal. Their blood pressure, respiratory rate, and body temperature may occasionally increase when they are active or when they are anxious. Usually vital signs will go back down when the child is relaxed or going to sleep.

There are several signs that parents need to watch out for:

  • Fever with a body temperature of more than 38°C
  • The rate and frequency of breathing is short and irregular (such as gasping for air while running)
  • An increase in heart rate along with a decrease in blood pressure that stops for more than 20 seconds
  • Pale skin or blue lips

Parents should contact the doctor immediately if their has any of these signs.

Learn more about Child Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Blood Pressure Levels for Boys and Girls by Age and Height Percentile, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/child_tbl.pdf, Accessed January 11, 2022

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/hypertension.html, Accessed January 11, 2022

When to Worry About a Child’s Fever, https://www.sutterhealth.org/cpmc/health/childrens-health/when-to-worry-about-a-childs-fever, Accessed January 11, 2022

Pediatric Respiratory Rates, https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/pdf/assmttools.pdf, Accessed January 11, 2022

Pediatric Vital Signs Reference Chart, https://www.pedscases.com/sites/default/files/VitalSignsChart3.pdf, Accessed January 11, 2022

Vital Signs (Body Temperature, Pulse Rate, Respiration Rate, Blood Pressure), https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/vital-signs-body-temperature-pulse-rate-respiration-rate-blood-pressure, Accessed January 11, 2022

Picture of the authorbadge
Written by Hello Sehat Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Vincent Sales