Vital Signs in Children

Topic Overview

What are vital signs?

Vital signs include heart rate, respiration (breathing rate), blood pressure, and temperature. Knowing the ranges for vital signs for your child can help you notice problems early or relieve concerns you may have about how your child is doing. The table below includes information that can help.

Normal ranges for vital signs

Vital Sign





0 to 12 months

1 to 11 years

12 and up


Heart rate


100 to 160 beats per minute (bpm)


70 to 120 bpm


60 to 100 bpm


Respiration (breaths)


0 to 6 months

30 to 60 breaths per minute (bpm)

6 to 12 months

24 to 30 bpm


1 to 5 years

20 to 30 (bpm)

6 to 11 years

12 to 20 bpm


12 to 18 bpm footnote 1


Blood pressure ( systolic/ diastolic) footnote 1


0 to 6 months

65 to 90/45 to 65 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg)

6 to 12 months

80 to 100/55 to 65 mm Hg


90 to 110/55 to 75 mm Hg


110 to 135/65 to 85 mm Hg


Temperature footnote 2

All ages


Rectal (bum)


36.6 C to 38 C (97.9 F to 100.4 F)




35.8 C to 38 C (96.4 F to 100.4 F)


Oral (mouth)


35.5 C to 37.5 C (95.9 F to 99.5 F)


Axillary (armpit)


36.5 C to 37.5 C (97.8 F to 99.5 F)

Learn more

Learn more about how to take your child's temperature, take a pulse, measure blood pressure, and count breaths with these topics:

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  1. Harman M, et al. (2011). Pediatric emergency and resuscitation. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., p. 280. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
  2. Leduc D, et al. (2000, reaffirmed 2013). Temperature measurement in paediatrics. Canadian Paediatric Society Position Statement. Available online:


Adaptation Date: 7/24/2020

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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