Protocol - Respiratory Rate - Child

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A study staff member counts the number of complete respiratory cycles (one inspiration and one expiration) a subject 4 to 16 years of age breathes in 60 seconds.

Specific Instructions

The protocol for children should be administered in a quiet place where the child can remain calm. The observer or listener should reliably count or listen to the child’s respiratory cycles for up to 60 seconds and observe the child’s respiratory pattern.




1) Use a watch which can measure time in seconds.

2) Child (4-16 years of age) should be seated, may be awake or asleep but should be calm, not agitated.

3) Observe a complete respiratory cycle and count partial respiratory cycles as complete.

4) Count the number of respirations for 60 seconds or in two separate blocks of 30 seconds each.

5) While counting, note the child’s respiratory depth, breathing pattern, and depth of breathing.

6) Record the results.

Personnel and Training Required

Staff trained to count respiratory rates with a watch, and auscultate breath sounds

Equipment Needs

Watch that can measure time in seconds and a stethoscope

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Physical Measurement


Child, Adolescent


Children ages 4 to 16 years

Selection Rationale

The child protocol was used in a study of 1,109 healthy children ages 4 to 16 years to establish age-related references for respiratory rate.



Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Resp rate child proto 62633-3 LOINC
Human Phenotype Ontology Tachypnea HP:0002789 HPO
caDSR Form PhenX PX091402 - Respiratory Rate Child Protocol 5969569 caDSR Form
Derived Variables


Process and Review

Expert Review Panel #6 (ERP 6) reviewed the measures in the Respiratory domain.

Guidance from ERP 6 includes the following:

• Re-ordered list of activities in protocol.

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive ([link[www.phenxtoolkit.org/domains/view/90000#tab5content]])

Protocol Name from Source

Wallis, L. A., Healy, et al, Age related reference ranges for respiration rate and heart rate from 4 to 16 years, ARCH DIS CHILD, 2005


Wallis, L. A., Healy, M., Undy, M. B., & Maconochie, I. (2005). Age related reference ranges for respiration rate and heart rate from 4 to 16 years. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 90, 1117-1121.

General References

Evans-Smith P. (2005). Taylor’s Clinical Nursing Skills: A Nursing Process Approach. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Fleming, S., Thompson, M., Stevens, R., Heneghan, C., Pluddemann, A., Maconochie, I., Tarassenko, L., & Mant, D. (2011). Normal ranges of heart rate and respiratory rate in children from birth to 18 years of age: A systematic review of observational studies. Lancet, 377, 1011-1018.

Taylor, C. Lillis, C, LeMone, P. & Le Bon, M (2005). Skill Checklists to Accompany Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Nursing Care (5th Ed). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX091402040000 Breathing depth comments N/A
PX091402030000 Breathing pattern comments N/A
PX091402010000 Number of respiratory cycles in one minute Variable Mapping
PX091402020000 Respiratory Depth Comments N/A
Measure Name

Respiratory Rate

Release Date

January 29, 2010


Respiratory rate is the number of breaths an individual takes within a specific amount of time (frequently given in breaths per minute).


Respiratory rate is a low-burden, quantitative variable that can be used to distinguish individuals with and without various forms of lung disease.


Respiratory, breaths per minute, inspiration, expiration, auscultation

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
91402 Respiratory Rate - Child
91403 Respiratory Rate - Adult
91404 Respiratory Rate - Infant

There are no publications listed for this protocol.