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A member asked:

is 16 a normal respiratory rate for a sleeping 3 year old?

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kyon Hood
Pediatrics 20 years experience
The normal range: for respiratory rate for a toddler is typically 22-34, but the rate will be lower when sleeping. If there are any other respiratory signs like heavy, labored breathing, wheezing or other abnormal breath sounds, or other symptoms of illness, you should contact your pediatrician. If nothing else is going on, and it's only the respiratory rate you mention, it's unlikely to be anything serious.
Dr. Clarene Cress
Specializes in Pediatrics
Yes: Breathing rates vary somewhat from person to person, partly related to age, level of activity, fever and general conditioning. A rate of 16 can be normal at age 3. More important is whether the air flow seems relaxed and not obstructed.
Dr. Marvin Ott
Emergency Medicine 20 years experience
Yes: Mary, when awake, a 3 year old should breathe between 24 and 28 times a minute, but breathing slows when we sleep. This is a perfectly OK rate. Hope this helps!
Dr. Robert Nelson
Family Medicine 36 years experience
Variable; likely yes: Respiratory rate varies depending on stage of sleep, but does slow during sleep compared to waking hours. A rate of 16 might be lower limit of normal for an awake 3 yr old playing quietly, but is likely normal for many stages of sleep. As long as inhalation/exhalation is rhythmic and there are no long pauses it is probably normal. Lots of snoring or long pauses could indicate a problem.

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Last updated Mar 4, 2018

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