Despite significant progress in recent years, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the nation remains incompletely equipped to respond to children’s unique medical needs in the wake of disasters. Children are particularly vulnerable to illness and injury during pandemics, natural disasters such as hurricanes, or acts of terrorism, according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The statement, “Medical Countermeasures for Children in Public Health Emergencies, Disasters or Terrorism,” will be published in the February 2016 issue of Pediatrics (published online Jan. 4). Although meaningful strides have been made toward including more appropriate life-saving medical countermeasures (equipment, devices, supplies and medications) for children, many of the vaccines and pharmaceuticals stockpiled for rapid distribution in the event of a disaster currently are only approved for use in adults. To meet the needs of children of all ages, the AAP recommends stockpiles should include appropriate medication formulations for children, such as liquids, as well as age- or size-based dosing instructions. While mechanisms for the emergency use of unapproved drugs and devices for children in certain disaster scenarios do exist, according to the policy statement authors, research is needed to assure effectiveness and safety and toentify evidence-based dosing guidelines for children. Concerns about added costs or storage space for pediatric-appropriate medical countermeasure supplies or the challenges and costs of conducting needed research should not be used as a rationale for lesser protection for children. The policy statement is the latest in a series of resources developed by the AAP to prepare pediatricians addressing the needs of children during times of crisis. Additional AAP resources are available at www.aap.org/disasters, including a Pediatric Preparedness Resource Kit (http://bit.ly/1Jmpmjb) and Preparedness Checklist for Pediatric Practices (http://bit.ly/1MAzDJr).
Nation's Stockpile of Medical Disaster Supplies Falls Short of Meeting Needs of Children
Subscribe to the DPJ Weekly Brief newsletter: Subscribe