The most precious sound in the world is your baby’s heartbeat. From the time you start to hear those whooshing sounds at your ultrasound to the time you start feeling their small heart thump on your tummy at bedtime.
How Can You Know If Your Child’s Heartrate Is Normal? And When Should You Be Concerned?
Remember that your child’s heartbeat will most probably be much faster than yours, and that’s completely normal.
Once you become an adult, your resting heart rate is between 50 and 100 beats per minute, whereas your child’s heart rate will be higher than yours. It’s not only your age, but resting heart rate considers several factors such as body’s hydration status, size, weight, body temperature, body position, etc. If you’ve got an infant, their average resting heart rate should be between 90 and 160 beats per minute. This range will, of course, lower down with age. Now obviously, there are some cases where a high heart rate is normal. During exercise, your heart rate will increase to around 220 beats per minute (deducting your age).
You will also notice that when your child is active or excited, their heart rate will seem faster than resting or fast asleep. It can get more than usual when they’re ill. Sometimes you will notice their heart rate sounds irregular. That might be due to fluctuations in heartrate associated with breathing and is normal in children.
Now that you know what a normal heart rate is, how do you check your child?
You do not need to regularly check your child’s pulse as your doctor will check it during the monthly visits. Still, if you are concerned, you can check the pulse by apply gentle pressure on your child’s major artery using your index finger and your middle finger. Your thumb will not be able to help you in this case as it has its pulse, so it’ll give you an irregular rate.
There are many other places you can observe your child’s pulse:
- Radial pulse on the wrist: If your child’s hand is lying flat, you can place your fingers on the base of their thumb and move down the wrist.
- Axillary pulse on the armpit: If your child is still an infant, you can place your fingers on their armpit and feel the pulse.
- Brachial pulse on the elbow crease: Let your child lie on their back with one arm lying flat. Pace your finger on the inside of their arm to feel the pulse.
Once your fingers in place, count the beats you feel in 30 seconds. Then remove your fingers and double the number you’ve counted. That will be your beats per minute.
You can also use an electronic pulse calculator if you’re not confident to take your child’s pulse. But their accuracy isn’t at 100%, especially in young children, so proceed with caution when using them.
In case you feel that your child’s heart rate doesn’t seem right, immediately consult your doctor.