Prehospital Education Toolkit

In its series on the Future of Emergency Care (2007), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported deficiencies in the quality of prehospital pediatric emergency care resulting from the infrequent encounters with critical pediatric patients coupled with inadequate initial and continuing pediatric education. Furthermore, the report cited limited experience and training as a significant factor in previous studies indicating that prehospital providers are uncomfortable providing care for pediatric patients, particularly infants. Based on these findings, the IOM recommended that “every pediatric- and emergency care-related health professional credentialing and certification body should define pediatric emergency care competencies and require practitioners to receive the level of initial and continuing education necessary to achieve and maintain those competencies.

Over the past decade, implementation of the National EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach (2000) has led to significant improvements in overall education standards for prehospital emergency providers, including the development of a National Scope of Practice Model, an accreditation program for the initial training of paramedic-level providers (the highest EMS certification recognized in most states), and the National EMS Education Standards that incorporates pediatric core content. However, pediatric –specific education for EMS providers remains uneven. Of 55 states and territories that submitted data to the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program in 2013, pediatric-specific continuing education for Basic Life Support (BLS) providers was not required for recertification or re-licensure in 12 states/territories or for Advanced Life Support (ALS) level providers in 10 states/territories. In those states and territories that did require pediatric continuing education, the number of hours required for recertification ranged from 0 (unstipulated) to 10 for BLS providers with an average of 4 hours, and from 0 (unstipulated) to 16 for ALS with an average of 8 hours.

This toolbox provides resources to assist EMSC program managers, prehospital emergency care professionals, and EMS educators and medical directors to identify educational needs, develop curricula, and establish policy and standards to ensure that prehospital professionals have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide safe, effective, family-centered emergency care for children.