Normal Heart Rate for Kids and How to Check Your Pulse

doctor listening to child's heart beat with a stethoscope
Doctor listening to the heart with a stethoscope

Wondering how fast your heart is beating? You can measure it in just 3 steps! Your heart rate is the number of times your heart pumps blood around the body in one minute. Doctors and nurses can hear your amazing heart by putting a stethoscope on your chest. But it’s also helpful check your heart rate in other areas. Your pulse is the type of heart rate that you can feel.

Every time your heart beats, the heart squirts blood throughout blood vessels called arteries. The arteries need to carry fresh, oxygen-rich blood to all of your organs.

When you check your pulse, you are feeling the blood flow through a large artery under your skin. This tells us that blood from your heart has made the journey to far-away body parts.

Where Can You Feel Your Pulse?

Here are three popular places to check your pulse.

How to teach kids to check the carotid pulse on the side of the neck

Carotid Pulse

You can find the carotid pulse on the side of your neck. This area is under the corner of your jawbone.

In children and adults, the carotid pulse is one of the best places to check the heart rate.

But this area is not a safe option in babies since they have short and chubby necks.

Check radial pulse on side of wrist

Radial Pulse

You can find the radial pulse on the side of your wrist. This area is under your thumb.

Brachial Pulse

You can find the brachial pulse in the inside of the upper arm. This is the best area to check a baby’s pulse.

Other Places With Pulses

Doctors, nurses, and emergency rescuers need to know how check pulses in many parts of the body.

Can you find these other pulses on your body?

  • The femoral pulse is in the crease of your hip between your leg and belly.
  • The pedal pulse is on the the top of your foot, and the brachial pulse is under the elbow.
brachial pulse - check heart rate for babies
  • With your index finger and middle finger, gently press down until you feel a pulsing “thump”. (Do not use your thumb.)
  • Set a timer for 30 seconds. When you feel the beat, count each little “thump”.
  • Write down the number you counted. Multiply it by 2 to get the number of beats per minute.

Although you can keep counting pulse beats for a whole minute, sometimes people lose track of the number when they count for a longer time. But if you’re curious, you can measure your pulse for a full 60 seconds!

Normal Heart Rates for Babies, Kids, Teens, and Adults

Based on research, scientists have noticed which heart rate numbers are usually healthy for different ages. They have also kept track of heart rate patterns when children are resting compared to when they are busy moving around.

Here are common resting heart rates for babies, children, teenagers, and adults:

  • INFANT (Age < 1 year) – 100-160 bpm
  • TODDLER (Age 1-3 years) – 90-140 bpm
  • PRESCHOOLER (Age 3-6 years) – 80-120 bpm
  • CHILD (Age 6-12 years) – 70-110 bpm
  • TEEN & ADULT (Age > 12 years) – 60-100 bpm

Kids Have Faster Heart Rates Than Adults!

Have you ever felt your pulse and compared it to someone older or younger than you?

Babiest have the fastest heart rates. As kids grow up and become adults, the heart rate starts to slow down.

By the teenage years, the typical heart rate is the same range as adults. This is because the body has transformed into an adult after puberty.

heart rate bar graph chart for babies, children, and teens

Why Does Your Heart Rate Change Throughout the Day?

Depending on whether your body needs more oxygen-rich blood flow, your heart will speed up and slow down. Usually, when your organs are more active and need more oxygen, then your heart muscle will rev up and pump up the action.

What Causes Your Heart to Beat Faster?

When you exercise, your heart pumps faster to keep up with your movements. Your heart also speeds up when you’re scared, excited, or nervous. During active or stressful events, many people feel like their heart is pounding.

What Causes Your Heart to Slow Down?

When you rest and sleep, your heart pumps slower. Mindfulness activities can also help your heart relax.


Updated on July 15, 2022 Reviewed by Betty Choi, MD

Updated on July 15, 2022

Reviewed by Betty Choi, MD