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Normal Pulse Rates for Kids

Pediatric Basics

By

Updated May 29, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Doctor examining baby with stethoscope
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Parents often know that their own pulse rate or heart rate should be within about 60 to 100 beats per minute. They are often surprised that younger kids can normally have a much higher pulse rate than adults. Knowing what a normal pulse rate is -- and how to check your child's pulse -- can help you avoid unnecessary worry about a normal pulse rate, and maybe identify a slow or fast pulse rate when your child is sick.

Normal Pulse Rates for Kids

Even before you begin to think about what your child's normal pulse rate might be, it is important to keep in mind that there are a lot of different pulse rates that experts talk about.

For example, there is the resting pulse rate, which is basically the average pulse rate listed below.

A child's pulse rate can be normal, fast (tachycardia), or slow (bradycardia).

A pulse can also be regular or it can be irregular, which can be a sign of a heart rhythm problem.

Average Pulse Rates

A child will usually be close to having an average pulse rate for his age when he is at rest, and is not crying, running, or playing. During crying or physical activity, a child's pulse rate may climb to the upper limits of normal for his age and it may drop to the lower limits of normal when he is sleeping.

  • Newborn - 125 beats/min (can range from 70 to 190 beats/min)

  • Infant - 120 beats/min (can range from 80 to 160 beats/min)

  • Toddler - 110 beats/min (can range from 80 to 130 beats/min)

  • Preschooler - 100 beats/min (can range from 80 to 120 beats/min)

  • Six years old - 100 beats/min (can range from 75 to 115 beats/min)

  • Eight years old - 90 beats/min (can range from 70 to 110 beats/min)

  • Ten years old - 90 beats/min (can range from 70 to 110 beats/min)

  • Twelve years old (girls) - 90 beats/min (can range from 70 to 110 beats/min)

  • Twelve years old (boys) - 85 beats/min (can range from 65 to 105 beats/min)

  • Fourteen years old (girls) - 85 beats/min (can range from 65 to 105 beats/min)

  • Fourteen years old (boys) - 80 beats/min (can range from 60 to 100 beats/min)

  • Sixteen years old (girls) - 80 beats/min (can range from 60 to 100 beats/min)

  • Sixteen years old (boys) - 75 beats/min (can range from 55 to 95 beats/min)

  • Eighteen years old (girls) - 75 beats/min (can range from 55 to 95 beats/min)

  • Eighteen years old (boys) - 70 beats/min (can range from 50 to 90 beats/min)

Talk to your pediatrician if your child always seems to be at either the upper or lower limits of normal -- for example, if he is at the lower range of normal for his pulse rate, even when he is running around and playing, or if he is always at the upper range of normal for his pulse rate, even when he is sleeping.

One exception for the lower limit of normal may include very athletic teens, who can have resting pulse rates as low as 40 to 50 beats/min.



Sources:

Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed.

American Heart Association. Target Heart Rates. Accessed October 2010.

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