There is a disturbing discrepancy in the pre hospital care of a child or infant and the pre hospital care of an adult. Infants and children account for about 10% of ambulance calls and most of these calls do not require extensive treatment by the EMS crew (Grabinsky, Ramaiah, & Seid, 2012, p. 116). Many calls are routine calls involving minor trauma or childhood illnesses. These types of calls do not inspire the urgency that calls like cardiac arrest or major trauma cause. When an infant or child needs immediate lifesaving interventions, nothing should stand in the way.
There are many factors that might result in a child or infant being denied the same care as an adult (Grabinsky, Ramaiah, & Seid, 2012, p. 117). Since most calls are to assist adult patients, then most equipment fits adults. The cots will accommodate a patient of any size but often the straps are placed so far apart that a child or infant only gets the benefit of one strap to secure them to the cot. Ambulances are required by states to carry certain items. The basic lifesaving equipment and medicines for everyone is available, however space is very limited. If there is room for a medical device that is used regularly to help save an adult, then it should be available on ambulances. Logically this makes sense. However, when a parent finds out that their child could have lived if there had been room on the ambulance for lifesaving pediatric equipment then that logic becomes nonsense.
Time is one of the most important factors involved when providing care to any patient. Anything that delays treatment and transport may determine whether the outcome of the call is good or bad. When an EMS crew responds to a call involving a child or infant, emotions run high. During an emergency, parents face the dilemma of handing their child over to complete strangers. If there is a delay in treatment due to these emotions, the outcome can be disastrous. In cases of suspected child abuse, most ambulance crews are not allowed to go to the scene until the police have determined that it is safe to do so. Occasionally the officers will be busy on another call or be a long distance away. The amount of time the ambulance crew spends waiting not only delays treatment but also prolongs the amount of time the infant or child is left with the abuser during a time when emotions are at a critical level.
Paramedics, like most people, become more comfortable with tasks that they perform on a regular basis. Since calls for Infants and children are relatively rare in EMS, many care providers must take…