The right equipment, medications, guidelines and oversight are critical in the delivery of care to children in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system.
That is why five medical groups including the AAP have signed on to Pediatric Readiness in Emergency Medical Services Systems, a policy statement and technical report calling for pediatric services to be embedded into the EMS system infrastructure. This affects providers who work, for example, on ambulances or aircraft dispatched to an emergency when a bystander summons help or a patient with an illness or injury needs interfacility transport.
The statements also highlight the need for pediatric-focused education, training and performance-improvement practices. In addition, when a pediatric emergency care coordinator is on site — promoting pediatric-friendly policies, training and resources — emergency departments are more prepared to care for children.
The policy and technical report from the AAP Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Section on Emergency Medicine’s EMS Subcommittee are available at https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-3307 and https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-3308. They also will be published in the January issue of Pediatrics. The AAP is releasing the documents with the American College of Emergency Physicians, Emergency Nurses Association, National Association of Emergency Medical Services Physicians and National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.
Among recommendations for EMS systems and agencies are the following:
- Include pediatric considerations in EMS planning and development of pediatric EMS dispatch protocols, operations and physician oversight.
- Integrate evidence-based, pediatric-specific elements into the direct and indirect medical oversight that is part of the global EMS oversight structure.
- Have pediatric-specific equipment and supplies based on national consensus recommendations.
- Develop, maintain and locally enforce policies for the safe transport of children in emergency vehicles.
- Include provision for caring for children and families in emergency preparedness planning and exercises, including the care and tracking of unaccompanied children and timely family reunification in disasters.