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The Best Method to Take an Infant's Pulse

author image Melissa McNamara
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
The Best Method to Take an Infant's Pulse
Doctor takes a baby's pulse using a stethoscope.

The best method to take an infant’s pulse is to listen to the apex of the heart with a stethoscope. In case of an emergency and when you don’t have a stethoscope, check a pulse on the large brachial artery of the infant’s arm. If an infant does not have a pulse, always call 911 while performing chest compressions.

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Apical with a Stethoscope

Step 1

Wash your hands and wipe off the ear pieces and diaphragm of your stethoscope with an antiseptic wipe.

Step 2

Insert the ear pieces of the stethoscope into your ears and place the flat side of the diaphragm on the left side of the infant’s chest so its just slightly above the nipple. Locate the area of the chest with the loudest and strongest “lub-dub” sound.

Step 3

Count the heart beat for 30 seconds and then multiply by 2. A normal heart rate for an infant is between 90 and 170 beats. The heart rate will gradually decrease up to age 14.

Brachial Artery Pulse

Step 1

Place your index finger and middle finger on the inside of the infant’s upper arm between the elbow and shoulders. Your fingers will be near the infant’s armpit.

Step 2

Press firmly so your fingers are flat. Find the pulse.

Step 3

Count the beats for 30 seconds. Then, multiple by 2.

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