NHS reveals how to tell if your baby’s heart rate is normal for their age

BEING a parent is stressful – you are constantly worrying if your child is ok.

Keeping an eye on their health is vital, and something you’ll spend a lot of time doing.


Parents should know what heartbeat is right for their childCredit: Getty

Checking their heart rate might be something you do when they are under the weather, or not quite themselves.

This is because it is an easy indicator that something isn’t quite right, or they are battling a bug.

But because they are a lot smaller than adults, they have a faster heart rate.

If parents don’t know what is normal for their child’s age, it can be alarming or confusing to find out if it is cause for alarm.

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The NHS has advice on various local healthcare sites on what is the normal range for children at different ages.

Great Ormond Street Hospital says for newborns 100-180 beats per minutes when they are awake is perfectly normal.

When they are sleeping this drops slightly to somewhere between 80-160 beats per minutes.

GOSH experts say when they are around six months old the normal awake heart rate range is between 100-160, dropping to 75-160 when sleeping.

When they are between one and three years old it is normal for their heart rate to be between 80-110 when awake.

But when they are sleeping the usual range is around 60-90 beats per minute.

Nursery or pre-school age children are lower still, nearer to an adult’s average range, at between 70-110.

And school-age kids should be between 65-110 beats per minute.

You can check heart rate by taking a pulse and counting how many times it beats in one minute.

It varies with what you are doing, so you need to have been sitting still.

With children this is especially important, so it’s good to have them sitting still for a few minutes before having a check.

To find a pulse in the wrist:

  • hold out one hand, with your palm facing upwards
  • press the first (index) finger and middle finger of your other hand on the inside of the wrist, at the base of the thumb – don’t use your thumb as it has its own pulse
  • press your skin lightly until you can feel your pulse – if you can’t find it, try pressing a little harder or move your fingers around

To find a pulse in the neck:

  • press your first finger and middle finger to the side of the neck, just under the jaw and beside the windpipe – don’t use your thumb
  • press your skin lightly to feel the pulse – if you can’t find it, try pressing a bit harder or move your fingers around
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When you find the pulse, either:

  • count the number of beats you feel for 60 seconds
  • count the number for 30 seconds and multiply by 2

This gives you the heart rate – the number of times a heart is beating per minute (bpm).

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