Emergency Medical Services for Children Program releases pediatric checklist and toolkit

The two resources can EMS agencies improve their readiness to care for child patients


By Leila Merrill

AUSTIN, Texas — The Emergency Medical Services for Children Program released a pediatric checklist and corresponding toolkit for EMS agencies in December.

Pediatric calls are uncommon for EMS providers, but they require specialized expertise, infrastructure, and resources, according to the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program, which is part of the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly half of EMS agencies see fewer than one pediatric patient a month, according to the National EMSC Data Analysis Center’s “EMS for Children Survey,” which came out in July.

Nearly half of EMS agencies see fewer than one pediatric patient a month, according to the National EMSC Data Analysis Center.
Nearly half of EMS agencies see fewer than one pediatric patient a month, according to the National EMSC Data Analysis Center. (Photo/Getty Images)

To help EMS agencies improve their readiness to care for children, the National Prehospital Pediatric Readiness Project—an initiative of the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program—launched the checklist and the toolkit.

The National Prehospital Pediatric Readiness Project is supported by 27 national organizations, federal partners, EMS for Children Program grantees, and subject matter experts. A list of all supporting partners can be found here.

The checklist and toolkit will help provide the basis for a national prehospital assessment, which is expected to launch in 2024. The checklist is based on a 2020 joint policy statement and corresponding American Academy of Pediatrics technical report, and covers seven focus areas:

  • Education and competencies for providers
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Patient and medication safety
  • Patient- and family-centered care in EMS
  • Policies, procedures, and protocols (to include medical oversight)
  • Quality improvement/performance improvement
  • Interaction with systems of care

The corresponding toolkit includes more than 80 resources that were selected and vetted by a multidisciplinary team of stakeholders. The resources align with the checklist and the joint policy statement.

“The checklist that the National Prehospital Pediatric Readiness Steering Committee developed takes the essential recommendations from the Pediatric Readiness in Emergency Medical Services Systems policy statement and turns them into tangible guidance that EMS systems can use,” says Manish I. Shah, MD, MS, co-author of the policy statement. “It helps agencies figure out how ready they are to care for children and set goals to build upon what they are already doing. The comprehensive toolkit also provides resources that agencies can use to implement their own readiness strategies.”

The National Prehospital Pediatric Readiness Project mirrors the parallel National Pediatric Readiness Project, which focuses on pediatric readiness in emergency departments.

Visit the project webpage to learn more.

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