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AAP and Emergency Medical Organizations Say System-Wide Improvements Needed in Pre-Hospital Care for Children

12/19/2019

Although roughly one in 10 emergency medical system (EMS) calls are for children, not all EMS agencies have the expertise, skills and equipment needed to care for the unique needs of young patients. With a joint policy statement and technical report of the same name, “Pediatric Readiness in Emergency Medical Services Systems,” in the January 2020 Pediatrics (both published online Dec. 19), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and several emergency medicine organizations aim to help fill these gaps. The groups call for the development of EMS infrastructure and oversight that incorporates evidence-based, pediatric specific national consensus recommendations to support the care of pediatric patients and their families.  Many of the recommendations center on preparing responders for the unique physical characteristics, physiological responses, and psychosocial needs of seriously ill or injured children. Since most EMS calls are for adults, and some responders care for only a few pediatric patients a year, the organizations also call for ongoing opportunities to refresh child-specific EMS skills and knowledge. This includes proper equipment usage and medication dosing, for example, along with safe transportation of children. The joint policy statement is issued by the AAP Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Section on Emergency Medicine’s EMS Subcommittee; the American College of Emergency Physicians; the Emergency Nurses Association; the National Association of EMS Physicians; and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. The accompanying technical report is issued by AAP only and includes the Section on Surgery as an authoring group.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.