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We Need Your Help to Save Our Sickest Kids!

Help Adapt Our Emergency Medical Services Systems for Children

— An eighteen-month-old boy coughing violently and gasping for breath at a playground

— A six-year-old girl having continuous seizures suddenly at school

— A two-day-old boy discovered gray and limp in his crib, barely responsive

— A fourteen-year-old girl with diabetes found comatose in her basement

What all these children have in common is that they might die or become permanently disabled if they don’t get the right help from the right people right away.

But, starting with a call to 9-1-1, our critical EMS systems fail to account for the unique needs of children. Shocking as this may be, many of our nation’s first responders and emergency departments (EDs) are unprepared to care for children. Nearly 30 million emergency department visits are made by children in the U.S. annually, but our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems are designed for adults whose bodies and needs are very different.

  • The United States rates a D- in access to emergency medical care for children.
  • A critically ill or injured child can die quickly, in just thirty to sixty minutes. To save these children we need first responder teams and all hospitals to be prepared to care for them at all times.

— An emergency department (ED) prepared for children saves more kids. The more prepared the ED, the greater the chances of a child’s survival. But the “average” ED in the US is only 69% ready for kids, and many are far less ready than that.

Science has shown that emergency medical services (EMS) systems designed for adults cannot save the lives of children. Our country must adapt our EMS systems to the unique needs of children. The mandate to adapt our current systems must be required by law on a state-by-state basis. Here is a link to such a law.

As children don’t vote, we adults, who know the truth about our current EMS systems failures for children, hereby call on every state legislature to pass and fully implement EMS Systems for Children laws. And we call on the federal government to use its powers to promote the adaptation of EMS systems to serve our children.

Only EMS systems adapted for children can save our kids. Please sign the petition for this change today! peds.2021-050787 J Pediatr 2018;194:225-32 JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(1):e2250941. doi:10.1001/ jamanetworkopen.2022.50941 JAMA Surg. 2022;157(4):e217419. doi:10.1001/ jamasurg.2021.7419