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Age and Vital Signs

The general age cut off between adults and pediatrics is 18 years. There is a wide range of “normal” for vital signs in adults and especially pediatrics.  As much as possible, ages for pediatrics and cut off points for vital signs have been kept consistent throughout the Medical Directives. However, clinical research and expert opinion have resulted in a number of exceptions which in each case has been deliberately chosen and is clearly noted in each Medical Directive. There is a deliberate gap in the definition of normotension and hypotension in adults.

Adults

Normotension

SBP ≥100 mmHg

Hypotension

SBP <90 mmHg

Heart rate

Heart rate is always in beats per minute according to a cardiac monitor when it is applied. In situations where a cardiac monitor is not indicated then the heart rate is equal to the pulse rate.

Bradycardia

HR <50 BPM

Tachycardia

HR ≥100 BPM

Tachypnea

RR ≥28 breaths/min

Pediatrics

AgeRespiratory RateHeart Rate
0-3 M 30-60 90-180
3-6 M 30-60 80-160
6-12 M 25-45 80-140
1-3 YR 20-30 75-130
6 YR 16-24 70-110
10 YR 14-20 60-90
Normotension

SBP ≥90 mmHg + (2 x age in years)

Hypotension

SBP <70 mmHg + (2 x age in years)

Weight (kg)

= (age x 2) + 10

Hypoglycemia
AgeBlood glucose level
<2 YR < 3.0 mmol/L
≥2 yr <4.0 mmol/L

Level of Awareness (LOA)

The word ‘altered’ refers to a GCS that is less than normal for the patient.

The word ‘unaltered’ refers to a GCS that is normal for the patient. This may be a GCS <15.

Contact

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
5700 Yonge Street, 6th Floor
Toronto, ON M2M 4K5

416-327-7900

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