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How To Take A Blood Pressure In Children
Blood pressure (BP)
is the force of blood moving against the walls of your child's arteries. The normal BP range for your child depends on his age, height, and sex. BP readings are usually written as 2 numbers. The first or top number is called systolic BP. The second or bottom number is called diastolic BP. You may need to check your child's blood pressure at home if he has high blood pressure. Ask your child's healthcare provider how often to measure his BP.
How to check your child's BP:
You can take your child's BP at home with a digital BP monitor. Ask your child's healthcare provider what type of BP monitor to use on your child. The blood pressure cuff must be the right size to get the correct BP reading. Read the instructions that came with the BP monitor.
- Have your child sit and rest for 5 minutes before you take his BP. Your child should be relaxed when you take his BP.
- Extend your child's right arm and support it on a flat surface. Your child's arm should be at the same level as his heart. Both of his feet should be flat on the floor.
- The device has a built-in pump that inflates the cuff. Put the cuff about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above your child's elbow. Wrap the cuff snugly around his arm. The BP reading may not be correct if the cuff is too loose.
- Turn on the BP monitor and follow the directions.
- Write down your child's BP, the date, the time, and which arm you used to take the BP. If possible, take your child's blood pressure twice and write down both readings. These BP readings can be 1 minute apart. Let the air out of the cuff. Turn off the monitor and take off the BP cuff.
What else you need to know:
- Keep a log of your child's BP readings and bring it to your follow-up visits. Ask your child's healthcare provider if you should also bring the BP monitor. He may want to make sure that you are using it correctly and that the monitor is accurate.
- Do not check your child's BP within 30 minutes after he exercises or has caffeine. If your older child or adolescent smokes, do not check his BP within 30 minutes of smoking. These may affect his BP reading.
- Do not take a BP reading in an arm that is injured.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.