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Hello folks I wanted to start a discussion about ambulance safety, specifically about transporting pediatric patients in ambulances. This should be a safe space for EMS workers to discuss this topic and be free to admit what you do not know. I have learned so much in the past 3 years on the topic, from US ambulance operations to similar issues in other countries. I have access to the top experts on the subject from NIOSH, NHTSA, Pediatrics researchers and professors, equipment manufacturers like Ferno, Quantum, and IMMI. Lets talk! I will start with something I didn't know, that I know now. 1. There is no "standard" in the United States that measures whether or not a product designed to restrain a child in an ambulance actually works as intended. The only thing close is FMVSS-213 which sets requirements for car seats in passenger vehicles.... which does NOT include ambulances. This means that no device on your ambulance has ever been scientifically proven to reduce death and disability in a similar way to how car seats have been tested.... scary huh? I attached some guidance from NASEMSO on the topic (I was one of the authors). Safe Transport of Children by EMS- Interim Guidance 3-8-17 final.pdf
So Dwayne mentioned something in another post that got me thinking. This was his quote: So, let's talk about it. I know we don't deal with a lot of pediatric patients, but it happens and it seems like, especially for the itty bitty ones, restraining them safely can be a delicate task. I know that our captain chair has a fold down child restraint harness, but what about infants? What are the policies/equipment your service uses to ensure that infants are safely secured during transport, or do you have such policies in place? I would have to look, but to be honest I'm not sure that we actually do have a policy set in stone regarding this. My last pediatric call was a four month old with a fever, and as we picked him up while the mother was headed to the hospital herself (she stopped because she heard him gasping and was concerned) she had the car seat ready to go. Luckily, the mother was able to help guide me through securing it to the stretcher (it was a reverse facing car seat and I was a bit lost trying to find a spot on the back to loop the belts through, not knowing that the hooks were on the sides of the seat), but I know that there may not always be a car seat available to me. So, what do you do in such situations? Do you have any special equipment that you carry on the truck (infant restraint systems, car seats, etc)? Or do you sit mom or dad on the cot and have them hold onto baby? What about critical infant calls where you have a lot of work to do? Do you throw them on the stretcher and hope for the best? I think we are supposed to be getting specialized infant restraint somethingorothers that attach to the cot and have child/infant-sized belts, but they're not out yet.