Normal Breathing Rate

Breathing rate is called rate of respiration.

Breathing rate is called rate of respiration.

Vital signs, those measurements that are taken when you visit a doctor, include temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. Breathing is the only bodily function that human beings do both voluntarily and involuntarily. One's breathing rate, or respiratory rate, is an indicator of overall health. Respiratory rate -- the number of times that you breathe in one minute -- will vary slightly depending on age and other health conditions.

Check your own respiration rate when you're at rest -- seated upright for several minutes and calm. Count the number of times that you inhale during one minute. If you have difficulty counting your breaths and also keeping time, use a stopwatch or timer or ask a friend to keep time for you.

Check someone else's resting breathing rate by counting the number of times his chest rises within one minute while he is seated and calm. Make note of any observed difficulty breathing. Respiratory rates can change with fever, illness or other medical conditions.

Compare your rate. Normal resting respiratory rate for an adult is 15 to 20 breaths per minute. According to the Ohio State University Medical Center, a respiratory rate of less than 12 or more than 25 might be considered abnormal. Normal breathing rates for children are different: Infants from birth to 1 year take 30 to 60 breaths per minute; toddlers 1 to 3 years old, 24 to 40 breaths per minute; ages 3 to 6, 22 to 34 breaths per minute; 6 to 12 years old, 18 to 30 breaths per minute; adolescents 12 to 18 years old take 12 to 16 breaths per minute.

Items you will need

  • Timer, stopwatch or clock with second hand
 

About the Author

Aline Lindemann is a health, food and travel writer. She has also worked as a social worker, preschool teacher and art educator. Lindemann holds a Master of Liberal Studies in culture, health and creative nonfiction writing from Arizona State University.

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