How can you tell when a child is breathing too fast?

Rapid respiration (tachypnoea) is one of the most important signs of pneumonia. A child at rest is breathing too fast when the following rates are exceeded:

  • 60 breaths or more per minute in an infant of 2 months or less
  • 50 breaths or more per minute in children 2 months to 1 year
  • 40 breaths or more per minute in children older than 1 year

The normal respiratory rate decreases with age. By the age of 12 years healthy children should not breathe faster than 20 breaths per minute.

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