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Pediatric Vital Signs
AgeWeight (kg)Pulse (bpm)RR (bpm)SBP (mm Hg)DBP (mm Hg)Minute ventilation (L/min; mL/min/kg)VC (mL; mL/kg)Hct (%)
Premature1130–15040–6042–5221 ± 835–65
Premature1–2125–15040–6050–6028 ± 835–65
Newborn2–4120–15040–6060–7037 ± 81.05; 200–260120; 4045–65
1 month4–7100–14024–3580–9646 ± 16
6 months7–10100–14024–3589–10560 ± 101.35; 140–19033–36
1 year10–1295–13020–3096–11066 ± 251.78; 150–180450; 4535
2–3 years12–1485–12518–2599–11564 ± 252.46; 175–200870; 6038
4–5 years16–1880–11518–2599–11565 ± 205.51,160; 60
6–9 years20–2670–11014–25100–12065 ± 156.21,500; 6040
10–12 years32–4265–9512–20112–12568 ± 156.23,100; 60
>14 years>5065–9012–18115–13075 ± 156.4; 904,000; 6040–50

RR, respiratory rate; SBP, systolic blood pressure; DBP, diastolic blood pressure; VC, vital capacity; Hct, hematocrit.

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Age-Based Estimates of Body Water Compartments
AgePrematureNeonate1 year10 yearsAdult
TBW (%)8575705550
ICF (%)3540403030
ECF (%)5035302520

TBW, total body water; ICF, intracellular fluid; ECF, extracellular fluid.

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  • Normal pediatric vital signs include higher heart rates and lower blood pressures than adults
  • Infants are heart rate dependent for their cardiac output because of a fixed stroke volume
  • Children have a higher oxygen consumption per kilogram than adults
  • Pediatric patients may respond to stress, such as hypoxia, by becoming bradycardic, and therefore decreasing CO
  • Tidal volume (7 mL/kg) and dead space (2 mL/kg) are equivalent to adults on a per kilogram basis
  • FRC is decreased under anesthesia, leading to increased atelectasis
  • Until 4–5 months, limited urine concentration capacity
  • Neonates have a low blood protein content with a high free drug fraction for many drugs; they are also at risk for hypoglycemia and hypocalcemia
  • Peak for thrombosis risk: birth (deficit in ATIII, Pt C and S) and around puberty
  • PT physiologically prolonged by 8–10 seconds in neonates and breastfed infants because of vitamin K deficit

1. Jorden RC. Multiple trauma. In: Rosen P, Barkin R, Danzl DF, et al., eds. Emergency Medicine—Concepts and Clinical Practice. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 1990:281–282.
2. Task Force on Blood Pressure Control in Children. Report of the Second Task Force on Blood Pressure Control in Children—1987. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Pediatrics. 1987 Jan;79:1–25.   [PubMed: 3797155]
3. Cote CJ, Lerman J, Todres ID. A Practice of Anesthesia for Infants and Children. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2001:12, 15–16.
4. Joplin J, Henry E, Wiedmeier SE, Christensen RD. Reference ranges for hematocrit and blood hemoglobin concentration during the neonatal period: data from a ...

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