Pneumonia (peds)

This page is for pediatric patients. For adult patients, see: pneumonia


  • Most common site of infection in neonates

Bugs by Age Group

Clinical Features

Fever and tachypnea are sensitive but not specific

  • Fever
  • Cough
    • Productive cough is rarely seen before late childhood

Differential Diagnosis

Pediatric fever

Pediatric Shortness of Breath



Other diseases with abnormal respiration


  • Absence of tachypnea, respiratory distress, and rales/decreased breath sounds rules-out with 100% sensitivity
  • Imaging
    • CXR is not the gold standard!
    • Cannot differentiate between viral and bacterial (but lobar infiltrate more often bacterial)
    • Consider for:
      • Age 0-3mo (as part of sepsis workup)
      • <5yr with temperature >102.2, WBC >20K and no clear source of infection
      • Ambiguous clinical findings
      • Pneumonia that is prolonged or not responsive to antibiotics
  • Consider rapid assays for RSV, influenza
  • Blood/nasal culture are low yield
    • in prospective study, 91 blood cultures needed for one positive result for CAP; but in ICU one child had bacteremia for every 24 cultures obtained, one for every 12 with parapneumonic effusion [1]
    • consider for sicker ones, those with effusions



1-3 Month

>3mo - 18 years


All Children less than 2 months should be hospitalized[3]

Consider Admission For

  • Age: <2-3 months old
  • History of severe or relevant congenital disorders
  • Immune suppression (HIV, SCD, malignancy)
  • Toxic appearance/respiratory distress
  • SpO2 <90-93%
  • Vomiting/dehydration
  • Unstable social environment

See Also

  • Pneumonia (Main)
  • Pediatric fever


  1. Prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of bacteremic pneumonia in children. Pediatrics. 2019 Jun 19.
  2. Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy 2014
  3. AAP. Management of Communty-Acquired Pneumonia in Infants and Children Older than 3 Months of Age. Pediatrics. Vol 128 No 6 December 1, 2011
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