The typical respiratory rate for adults is 12 to 18 breaths per minute, according to About.com. Newborns and infants through age 1 have the highest respiratory rates at 30 to 60 breaths per minute
Toddlers from 1 to 2 years old breathe 24 to 40 times per minute. Children 3 to 5 breathe 22 to 34 times per minute, and children 6 to 12 breathe 18 to 30 times per minute. Adolescents from 13 to 17 breathe 12 to 16 times per minute. The number of breaths a person takes is dictated by the body's demand for oxygen. People with illnesses or certain respiratory diseases breathe more often. An adult breathing 24 times or more per minute may have a serious health condition, reports About.com.