General Practice 2022

Heartbeatíchild action: what is the frequencyês for babiesês and childrenças

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Heartbeatíchild action: what is the frequencyês for babiesês and childrenças
Heartbeatíchild action: what is the frequencyês for babiesês and childrenças

The heart rate in baby and child is usually faster than in adults, and this is not a cause for concern. Some situations that can make the baby's heart beat faster than normal are in case of fever, crying or during play that requires effort.

In any case, it is good to observe if there are other symptoms such as changes in skin color, dizziness, fainting or heavy breathing, because they can help to identify what is happening. Therefore, if parents notice any of these alterations, they should speak with the pediatrician for a thorough evaluation.

Table of normal heart rate in children

The following table indicates normal heart rate variations from newborn to 18 years of age:

Age Variation Normal average
Premature newborn 100 to 180 bpm 130 bpm
Newborn baby 70 to 170 bpm 120 bpm
1 to 11 months: 80 to 160 bpm 120 bpm
1 to 2 years: 80 to 130 bpm 110 bpm
2 to 4 years: 80 to 120 bpm 100 bpm
4 to 6 years: 75 to 115 bpm 100 bpm
6 to 8 years: 70 to 110 bpm 90 bpm
8 to 12 years: 70 to 110 bpm 90 bpm
12 to 17 years: 60 to 110 bpm 85 bpm
bpm: beats per minute.

Changes in heart rate can be considered to be:

  • Tachycardia: when heart rate is higher than normal for age: above 120 bpm in children, and above 160 bpm in babies up to 1 year old;
  • Bradycardia: when heart rate is lower than desired for age: below 80 bpm in children and below 100 bpm in babies up to 1 year old.

To make sure that the heartbeat is altered in the baby and the child, let it rest for at least 5 minutes and then check using a heart rate monitor on the wrist or finger, for example. Learn more details on how to measure your heart rate.

What changes a child's heart rate

Normally babies have a faster heart rate than an adult, and this is completely normal. However, there are certain situations that cause the heart rate to increase or decrease, such as:

What increases heart rate:

The most common conditions are fever and crying, but there are other more serious conditions, such as lack of oxygen to the brain, in case of severe pain, anemia, some heart diseases or after heart surgery.

What slows your heart rate:

This is a rarer situation, but it can happen when there are congenital changes in the heart that affect the cardiac pacemaker, blocks in the conduction system, infections, sleep apnea, hypoglycemia, maternal hypothyroidism, systemic lupus erythematosus, fetal distress, diseases of the fetal central nervous system or elevation of intracranial pressure, for example.

What to do when your heart rate is abnormal

In many cases, the increase or decrease in heart rate in childhood is not serious and does not indicate a heart disease that has much meaning, but when the baby or child's heartbeat is altered, the parents should take her to the hospital for evaluation.

In more severe cases, other symptoms are usually present, such as fainting, tiredness, paleness, fever, coughing up phlegm and a change in skin color that may appear more bluish.

Based on this, doctors should carry out tests to identify what the baby has to indicate treatment, which can be done with medication to combat the cause of the change in heart rate, or even surgery.

Warning signs to go to the pediatrician

The pediatrician usually evaluates the functioning of the heart soon after birth and also at the baby's first consultations, which are held every month. Therefore, if there is any important cardiac alteration, the doctor can find out in a routine consultation, even if no other symptoms are present.

If the baby or child has the following symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible:

  • Heart beating much faster than normal and causing apparent discomfort;
  • The baby or child is pale, has fainted, or is too soft;
  • The child says that the heart is beating too fast without any effort or physical exercise taking effect;
  • Child says he feels weak or dizzy.

These cases should always be evaluated by a pediatrician, who may request tests to evaluate the baby's or child's heart, such as electrocardiogram and echocardiogram, for example.

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