Saturday, December 30, 2023

EMS Pediatric Populations - Infant Emergencies

EMS providers should be well-prepared to handle common infant emergencies, especially those related to respiratory illness and household accidents. 

Here's a guide for EMS providers on these aspects:

Common Infant Respiratory Emergencies:


• Typically caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

• Infants may present with wheezing, coughing, and respiratory distress.

• Administer oxygen and consider bronchodilators. Transport promptly if needed.


• Viral infection causing inflammation of the upper airway.

• Characterized by a barking cough and stridor.

• Provide humidified oxygen and consider corticosteroids. Transport if respiratory distress persists.


• Bacterial or viral infection affecting the lungs.

• Signs include fever, cough, and respiratory distress.

• Administer oxygen and transport promptly for appropriate medical intervention.


• Sudden cessation of breathing, particularly in premature infants.

• Administer positive pressure ventilation as needed and transport urgently.

Foreign Body Aspiration:

• Infants are at risk of inhaling small objects.

• Perform back blows and chest thrusts if airway obstruction is suspected. Transport for further evaluation.

Household Accidents:


• Infants are prone to choking on small objects.

• Perform age-appropriate choking maneuvers (e.g., back blows, chest thrusts).

• Assess and manage the airway. Transport if necessary.


• Common household hazard.

• Assess for signs of injury and transport for further evaluation if needed.


• Scald burns from hot liquids are common.

• Cool burns with tepid water. Do not use ice. Transport for further care.


• Infants may ingest household products.

• Contact poison control for guidance and transport for medical evaluation.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):

• Sudden, unexplained death of an otherwise healthy infant.

• Focus on providing emotional support to the family and prompt transport to a medical facility.

General Considerations:

1. Airway Management:

Maintain a clear airway and provide appropriate respiratory support.

2. Oxygen Administration:

Administer supplemental oxygen as needed.

3. Monitoring:

Continuously monitor vital signs and assess the infant's overall condition.

4. Transport Decisions:

Transport infants promptly, especially in cases of respiratory distress or when there is uncertainty about the severity of the situation.

5. Family Communication:

Provide clear and compassionate communication with the family, keeping them informed about the infant's condition and the plan of care.

EMS providers should receive specialized training in pediatric emergencies, stay updated on protocols, and collaborate with healthcare professionals for the best outcomes in infant emergencies.

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