Your breath rate is defined as the number of breaths you take during a one-minute period – at rest. Recent studies suggest that an accurate recording of respiratory rate is very important in predicting serious medical events. Understanding how to take an accurate measurement is important. While watching a clock, count the number of times you breathe in two minutes, make three trials and find the average, divide by two to find the average number of breaths per minute.
Whilst in general children have faster respiratory rates than adults, and women breathe more often than men, fast breathing has become the new normal. The average ranges for different age groups are listed below:
Newborn: 30-60 breaths per minute
Infant (1 to 12 months): 30-60 breaths per minute
Toddler (1-2 years): 24-40 breaths per minute
Preschooler (3-5 years): 22-34 breaths per minute
School-age child (6-12 years): 18-30 breaths per minute
Adolescent (13-17 years): 12-16 breaths per minute
Adult: 12-18 breaths per minute
At the normal breathing rate of eight breaths per minute a person will breathe about 11,520 breaths per day. At 16 breaths per minute – the current average for an adult – that rate reaches 23,000 breaths per day, and at 25 breaths per minute 36,000 breaths a day – a far cry above normal.