Infants and children have a higher pulse rate than adults. A child's pulse will be higher after exercising and lower while she is resting.
Pulse rate is not the same thing as blood pressure. A child's pulse rate is how many times her heart beats per minute. Blood pressure is the amount of pressure that the pumping blood applies to her arteries. Pulse rates can be measured at home, while blood pressure should be measured by a doctor or nurse.
Your child's pulse rate may be slightly higher or lower than the rates listed here. If you are concerned about your child's pulse rate, please talk to your child's pediatrician.
Normal Pulse Rate for Infants
The average pulse of an infant at birth is 140 beats per minute. A normal pulse rate for children under one year old ranges from 90 to 170 beats per minute. This decreases slightly throughout the child's first year, but pulse rates up to 170 beats per minute are considered normal.
Normal Pulse Rate for Children: Ages 1-2
The normal pulse rate for a child between one and two years old is 90 to 140 beats per minute. The average pulse rate is 115 beats per minute.
Normal Pulse Rate for Children: Ages 3-5
The normal pulse rate in children of ages three to five is between 80 and 110 beats per minute. The average pulse rate for this age group is 95 beats per minute.
Normal Pulse Rate for Children: Ages 6-12
The normal pulse rate for children between the ages of six and 12 is 75 to 105 beats per minute. The average pulse rate is 90 beats per minute.
Normal Pulse Rate for Children: Ages 13-18
The normal pulse rate for children between 13 and 18 years old is 60 to 100 beats per minute. The average pulse rate is 80 beats per minute.
How to Check Your Child's Pulse
Gently hold your child's arm with the palm of his hand facing down. Place the first, middle and third fingers of your hand onto the bottom of your child's wrist just below his hand. You can feel your child's pulse most easily by pressing gently on the underside of his wrist, just below his thumb.
Measure his pulse for at least 30 seconds. You can multiply that number by two to estimate the beats per minute, or you can count the pulse rate for a full minute to be more exact.
Be sure to use only your first three fingers when checking your child's pulse. Your thumb has it's own pulse, and you could accidentally check your pulse rate instead of your child's.