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Pediatric Patient Safety in the Prehospital/Emergency Department Setting

Barata, Isabel A. MD*; Benjamin, Lee S. MD; Mace, Sharon E. MD; Herman, Martin I. MD§; Goldman, Ran D. MD

doi: 10.1097/01.pec.0000278393.32752.9f
Review Article

The unique characteristics of the pediatric population expose them to errors in the emergency department (ED) with few standard practices for the safety of care. Young children and high-acuity patients are at increased risk of adverse events both in the prehospital and ED settings.

We provide an overview of the problems and possible solutions to the threats to pediatric patient safety in the ED. Endorsing a culture of safety and training to work in a team are discussed. Medication errors can be reduced by using organizational systems, and manufacturing and regulatory systems, by educating health care providers, and by providing caregivers tools to monitor prescribing. The consensus is that a safe environment with a high quality of care will reduce morbidity and mortality in ED pediatric patients.

*Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY; †Department of Emergency Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; ‡Department of Emergency Medicine, Ohio State University School of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH; §Division of Critical Care and Emergency Services, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Lebonheur Children's Medical Center, Memphis, TN and ∥Pediatric Research in Emergency Therapeutics (PRETx) Program, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, BC Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Isabel Barata, MD, North Shore University Hospital, 300 Community Dr, Manhasset, New York, NY 11030. E-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.