Normal Infant Heart Rate
In many respects, infants are not “little adults.” This is absolutely true when it has to do with vital signs. Parents and guardians need to take note of their infant’s heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and respiratory rate. This little piece of important can disclose a lot to your medical provider concerning your baby’s overall health.
Normal values for key signs exist for older children but are often different for infants, depending on their age. When you take your baby to see a pediatrician, you may learn that some important signs are lower than that of an average adult, while others are higher.
Infant Vital Signs
Infants have a higher respiratory (breathing) and heart rate than older children and adults. An infant’s muscles are not fully developed yet. This does not exclude the muscle that helps with breathing or the heart muscle.
Picture the heart muscle like a regular rubber band. The more you stretch a rubber band, the more forcefully it snaps back. If the heart if an infant cannot stretch very well due to undeveloped muscle fiber, it needs to pump faster in order to maintain a good blood flow through the entire body. As a result, the heart rate of an infant is usually faster. It can be irregular as well.
When an infant becomes older, the heart muscle stretches and contracts more effectively. This implies that the heart does not have to beat too fast just to transport blood around the body.
If the heart rate of an infant becomes lower than normal, it is always a cause for great concern. Potential causes of low heart rate, sometimes called bradycardia, in infants includes congenital heart problem, lack of oxygen, medication effects, low body temperature, and medication effects.
While this could differ, given an infant’s overall condition, the normal vital signs for an infant includes the following:
- Heart rate (newborn to 4 weeks old): 85 to 190 when fully awake
- Heart rate (4 weeks to a year old): 90 to 180 when fully awake
- Respiratory rate of 30 to 60 times per minute
- Temperature: 98.6° Fahrenheit
Temperature In Children
Whether adult or infant, the normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Nonetheless, a human’s temperature can rise and fall throughout the day. A nice bath, exercise, hormone swings, or exposure to cold or hot weather can all impact on the temperature of an infant.
You can check your infant’s temperature in so many areas (as long as they are still tender enough to allow you). Every area of the human body can say something different about a fever. According to the California Pacific Medical Center, the below values can help check if your infant has a fever.
- Axillary: when greater than 99° Fahrenheit (37.2° Celsius)
- Ear (tympanic): when greater than 99.5° Fahrenheit and 37.5° Celsius if on oral mode (bare in mind that checking the temperature of a 6 month old infant through the ear is not advisable)
- Oral: greater than 99.5° Fahrenheit (37.5° Celsius)
- Pacifier: greater than 99.5° Fahrenheit (37.5° Celsius)
- Rectal: greater than 100.4° Fahrenheit (38° Celsius)
While catching a fever isn’t an exciting occurrence for your baby, it has various protective effects and may give pain when fighting off the infection. Nonetheless, you should always visit your family doctor if your baby is younger than 12 weeks and has caught a fever. For parents who have infants older than 12 weeks, call your pediatrician when their body temperature rises above 104° Fahrenheit.
High And Low Blood Pressure In Infants
While an average adult commonly face high blood pressures as a result of buildup of cholesterol in the body (known as atherosclerosis), children do not have the same contributing attributes. So whenever their blood pressure becomes either too low or too high, a pediatrician must be seen at once.
Usually, the younger a baby is, the more often his or her blood pressure must be checked. Blood pressure can show a lung or heart defect in infants. Some potential causes of high blood pressure in little children (infants) include bronchopulmonary dysplasia, Wilms tumor, coarctation of the aorta, and kidney abnormalities (like renal artery stenosis).
Always bare in mind that heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate are all closely connected. The heart pumps blood around the body to make sure that the blood flow through the lungs to get the needed oxygen and then carries the oxygenated blood straight to the tissues. If an infant does not get adequate oxygen, their respiratory rate and heart rate will increase in order to get more oxygen.
If your baby does not appear to be sick but becomes disturbed before or while you try checking his or her vital signs, ensure you check their vitals one more time when they are more relaxed. This can usually produce more accurate results.
Always bare in mind that vital signs are very important when it comes to the heart rate of an infant, but it is also important to check your baby’s behavior as well.