Counting respiration rate

The respiration rate is the rate at which a person breathes. It increases with fever and some illnesses. The best time to count the respiration rate is when a person is resting, perhaps after you take the person's pulse while your fingers are still on the person's wrist. The person's breathing is likely to change if he or she knows you are counting it.

  • Count the number of times the chest rises in 1 full minute.
  • Notice whether there is any sucking in beneath the ribs or any apparent wheezing or difficulty breathing.

Normal resting breathing rate:

  • Newborn to 6 months: 30–60 breaths per minute
  • 6–12 months: 24–30 breaths per minute
  • 1–5 years: 20–30 breaths per minute
  • 6–12 years: 12–20 breaths per minute

Last Updated: April 21, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine

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