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Pediatric Vital Signs

Introduction

Blood pressure, body temperature, pulse rate, and respiratory rate are the routine vital signs measured in medicine. These vital signs remain relatively constant throughout our adult life.

As infants and children grow and age, their normal values for vital signs change. Body temperature does not change with age, and normal body temperature is considered 98.6 F (37 C).

Two tables of normal vital signs for the pediatric population are presented below. Heart rates may be slightly slower when asleep.

Age (year) Respiratory Rate (breaths/min) Heart Rate (beats/min)
<1 30-60 100-160
1-2 24-40 90-150
2-5 22-34 80-140
6-12 18-30 70-120
>12 12-16 60-100
Lower limits of systolic pressure†
0-28 days: 60 mm Hg
1-12 months: 70 mm Hg
1-10 years: 70 mm Hg + (2 times age in years)

Vital Signs at Various Ages

Age Heart Rate (beats/min) Blood Pressure (mm Hg) Respiratory Rate (breaths/min)
Premature 120-170 * 55-75/35-45 40-70
0-3 mo 100-150 * 65-85/45-55 35-55
3-6 mo 90-120 70-90/50-65 30-45
6-12 mo 80-120 80-100/55-65 25-40
1-3 yr 70-110 90-105/55-70 20-30
3-6 yr 65-110 95-110/60-75 20-25
6-12 yr 60-95 100-120/60/75 14/22
12 > yr 55-85 110-135/65/85 12-18

* From Dieckmann R, Brownstein D, Gausche-Hill M (eds): Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals. Sudbury, Mass, Jones & Bartlett, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000, pp 43-45.

REFERENCES:

Kleigman, R.M., et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2011.

Marx, J., et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2015



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