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Normal Oxygen Saturation Levels in Children

Updated February 28, 2017

An oxygen saturation level reflects the amount of oxygen-rich blood passing through the bloodstream. Defined by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Hawaii, a normal oxygen level for children is when at least 97 per cent of the bloodstream is saturated.

Oxygen Saturation

Oxygen saturation is the measurement of the amount of oxygen in a person's blood. Oxygen saturation levels are important in establishing the amount of oxygen passing through a person's lungs into oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Oxygen saturation levels are checked to see how well a child's heart and lungs are functioning.

Normal Oxygen Saturation Levels

According to the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Hawaii, a normal oxygen saturation level for children is defined as between 98 and 100 per cent, with a saturation level of 97 per cent considered borderline normal. Anything 96 per cent or below is considered abnormal.

Measuring Oxygen Saturation Levels

Measuring your child's oxygen saturation levels is safe and pain free. A small plastic probe or sensor, with a wire attached to it, is placed on your child's finger or toe. This probe has a red light on one side and a detector on the other side. This light shines through the blood veins of your child's finger or toe and is analysed by the detector on the other side, which measures the amount of oxygen in your child's blood.

Causes for Abnormal Oxygen Saturation Levels

According to the Mayo Clinic, causes of low blood-oxygen levels include pneumonia, anaemia, sleep apnoea and other respiratory distresses.

Treatment for Abnormal Oxygen Saturation Levels

Children experiencing abnormally low oxygen levels will be administered oxygen through a face mask or through nasal tubes.

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About the Author

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.