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How to Take A Blood Pressure in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Blood pressure (BP) is the force of blood pushing on the walls of your child's arteries. His or her BP results are written as 2 numbers. The first, or top, number is called systolic BP. This is the pressure caused by your child's heart pushing blood out to his or her body. The second, or bottom, number is called diastolic BP. This is the pressure when your child's heart relaxes and fills back up with blood. Ask your child's healthcare provider what your child's BP should be.
Call your child's doctor if:
- Your child's BP is higher or lower than you were told it should be.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
How often to take your child's BP:
Your child's healthcare provider may recommend that you take your child's BP 2 times a day. Take his or her BP at the same times each day, such as the morning and evening. Ask your child's healthcare provider when and how often you should take your child's BP.
How to check your child's BP:
You can take your child's BP at home with a digital BP monitor. Read the instructions that came with the BP monitor. The monitor comes with an adjustable cuff. Ask your child's healthcare provider if your child's cuff is the correct size.
- Do not take your child's BP within 30 minutes after he or she eats, drinks, or exercises. If your adolescent smokes, do not check his or her BP within 30 minutes of smoking.
- Help your child rest quietly for 5 minutes before you take his or her BP.
- Have your child sit with his or her feet flat on the floor and back against a chair.
- Extend your child's arm and support it on a flat surface. Your child's arm should be at the same level as his or her heart.
- Make sure all of the air is out of the cuff. Place the BP cuff against your child's bare skin about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above his or her elbow. Wrap the cuff snugly around your child's arm. The BP reading may not be correct if the cuff is too loose.
- If you are using a wrist cuff, wrap the cuff snugly around your child's wrist. Hold your child's wrist at the same level as his or her heart.
- 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. Take your child's BP 2 times and write down both readings. Use the same arm each time. These BP readings can be 1 minute apart.
What else you need to know:
- Do not take a BP reading in an arm that is injured or has an IV or shunt.
- Give your child his or her BP medicine as directed. Do not stop giving your child his or her BP medicine if the BP is at the goal. A BP at your child's goal means his or her medicine is working correctly.
Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:
Bring the log of your child's BP readings. Also bring the BP machine. Healthcare providers can check that you are using the machine correctly. 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.
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