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Office of Injury Prevention

Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC)

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What is the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program?

Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMS for Children) is a national initiative designed to reduce child and youth disability and death due to severe illness and injury. Medical personnel, parents and volunteers, community groups and businesses, and national organizations and foundations all contribute to the effort. A federal grant from the Health Resources Administration (HRSA) supports Arizona's initiatives. EMS for Children is an essential component of Emergency Medical Services or EMS systems.

Why is this program needed?

Children are not "small adults." The ill or injured child has very special needs and requires a different approach to care. Emergency care providers must be trained, not only to recognize the different ways that children's bodies respond to traumatic injury and illness, but also to communicate and comfort these children and their families effectively. Since the 1970's, EMS for Children has been improving the quality and availability of emergency care specifically for children. There is a very large range of skill and experience in hospitals, emergency personnel, and first responders in the emergency care of children in Arizona. EMS for Children offers consistent, coordinated and high quality child emergency care training throughout Arizona to those who respond to child emergencies.

What are the goals of the program?

Arizona EMSC goals are:

  • To improve the quality, safety availability, and consistency of child emergency medical care throughout Arizona
  • To provide ongoing assessment of the pediatric emergency medical services delivery system
  • To support pediatric emergency care training that is effective, sustainable, portable, and can be replicated whenever needed
  • To encourage use of evidence based/ informed guidelines for emergency care in Arizona in order to promote regular, high quality emergency care of children

What has the program achieved?

The EMS for Children’s Program uses a portion of the HRSA grant funds to support pediatric educational offerings in each of the state's four EMS regions. The EMSC for Children’s Program Manager attends Regional EMS Council meetings and advocates for on-going pediatric education/training for all EMS personnel. Examples include: a stand-alone pediatric conference for providers offered in the Northern EMS Region, and the Central EMS Region has added a pediatric track to their two day conference and Southeast AZ EMS Council sponsors the Emergency Pediatric Interdisciplinary Care Conference of Southern Arizona.

Arizona implemented a voluntary pediatric regionalization system for emergency departments. Work on this process began in 2008 with the official release in September of 2011. The Arizona Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics (AzAAP) Best Care for KIDS is home to the Pediatric-Prepared Emergency Care. This voluntary program recognizes hospitals prepared to stabilize and/ or manage pediatric medical emergencies. AzAAP certifies that hospitals meet specific criteria for personnel training, equipment, and facilities that support optimal care for ill or injured infants, children and teens. Pediatric-Prepared Emergency Care is a partnership between hospitals, physicians, nurses, and emergency personnel, and the Emergency Medical Services for Children program at the Arizona Department of Health Services.