NASEMSO Releases Pediatric Transport Resource for Ambulances

July 8, 2019

July 8, 2019 (Falls Church, Va.) The National Association of State Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Officials (NASEMSO) has released the Pediatric Transport Products for Ground Ambulances, Version 2. The document is a resource for EMS providers to determine existing options for securing infants and children who are transported by ambulance.

Approximately 1.6 million children ages 0-13 are transported by ambulance each year in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that ambulances are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a crash than an automobile. While ambulances are generally well-equipped to secure adult patients, many are lacking proper devices to secure their youngest patients whose varying sizes make the challenge even greater. In recent years, ambulance industry manufacturers have developed a variety of products to fill this gap, but the options to the purchaser can be confusing.

NASEMSO created the Pediatric Transport Products for Ground Ambulances resource to minimize the confusion, by allowing the EMS industry to compare the products available.

Inclusion of a product in the Pediatric Transport Products for Ground Ambulances resource does not imply that it has been deemed “safe” or is endorsed by NASEMSO. Unfortunately, there are no minimum safety criteria to be included in the product list, because such criteria have not been developed. Unlike child car seats used in automobiles which must meet rigorous safety standards developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are no such requirements for child transport devices used in ambulances. Further, industry experts agree the testing criteria for child seats designed for automobiles do not apply to the patient compartment of an ambulance. NASEMSO hopes to fill this gap by organizing and leading a comprehensive crash-testing project to determine pass/fail criteria for these pediatric transport products. The project will be a collaborative effort involving national EMS organizations, manufacturers of the equipment (who will donate their devices for the crash testing research), safety engineers, and pediatric experts. The crash testing research is expected to be a five- year effort before the criteria are developed and standards are published. In the interim, NASEMSO urges EMS providers to utilize devices specifically designed for child transport in ambulances.

Update: Pediatric Transport Products for Ground Ambulances, Version 2.1 (August 2019) is available here.