Being a parent of a newborn infant is a scary prospect. The variation in the infant's pattern of breathing can be disconcerting for a new parent as infants tend to breath in a different way compared to adults. The respiratory rate for an infant is fast and this can cause a fright to the parent, who may think that something is wrong with their newborn. Hence, knowing what is the normal respiratory rate for an infant is extremely important for new parents.
An infant will have a fluctuating rate of respiration during the first 6 months of its life. However, during the first year, the normal rate of respiration tends to stabilize and the breathing becomes slightly slower. Nonetheless, even then the child will have a higher rate of respiration compared to an adult.
So, what is the normal respiratory rate for infants? Usually, it has been seen that when infants are newborn until the age of 1 year, they have a normal respiratory rate ranging from 30 breaths in a minute to 60 breaths in a minute. Usually, the rate of breathing is fast while the infant is awake, and it tends to be slower when the infant is resting. Also, infants tend to employ the muscles of the abdomen for breathing and this one of the reason's why the breathing in an infant always looks exaggerated. However, as the infant crosses 1 year of age, the normal respiratory rate in the infant alters and it becomes between 24 breaths and 38 breaths per minute. So, if the normal rate of respiration in an infant is higher than this, it means that the infant is suffering from a viral infection, or he or she has a stuffy nose. And, if the rate is more than 60 breaths in a minute, then it is a medical emergency and the infant should be rushed to the hospital.
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