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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment | Emergency Medical and Trauma Services

About Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC)

Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) is a national initiative designed to reduce child and youth disability and death due to severe illness and injury. Medical personnel, parents and volunteers, community groups and businesses, and national organizations and foundations all contribute to the effort. A federal grant program supports the Colorado EMSC program.

The initial goal is to prevent childhood illness or injury. When prevention fails, the goal is to ensure that all ill or injured children and adolescents receive state-of-the-art emergency medical care from Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics, emergency department personnel, and rehabilitation specialists, if needed.

The federal Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) grant program enables states to address pediatric deficiencies they have identified within their emergency care system. Research also is supported through the program. All states, including Colorado, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have received federal funding.

Colorado initiatives have included injury prevention, prehospital education and training, school-based first aid programs and systems planning and development. The most recent initiative includes prehospital data collection and analysis.

Since its establishment in 1984, the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) effort has improved the availability of child-size equipment in ambulances and emergency departments. It has initiated hundreds of programs to prevent injuries, and has provided thousands of hours of training to Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and other emergency medical care providers. EMSC efforts have led to legislation mandating programs in several states, and to educational materials covering every aspect of pediatric emergency care. Most important, EMSC efforts are saving kids' lives. Although EMSC has made great progress over the years, much remains to be done to ensure children receive optimal medical care.

Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) is primarily supported and is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Other sponsors include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. General Motors and Smith-Kline Beecham have been corporate supporters.

Health care providers, parents, caregivers, teachers, and even local and national organizations involved with or interested in child health care play a significant role in this nationwide effort. Health care providers should be trained in responding to pediatric emergencies and ensure that their offices or departments are equipped to handle a childhood illness or injury. Parents should talk to their physicians about what constitutes a child health emergency, learn how to access emergency care in their community, and take CPR and first aid training. Teachers should discuss injury prevention measures with their students and learn what to do in an emergency or disaster situation, such as a school fire. Local and national organizations can help educate and inform all target audiences by developing strategic partnerships with their local and state Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Maternal Child Health Offices.

The national Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program supports two resource centers--the EMSC National Resource Center (NRC), located in Washington, DC, and the National EMSC Data Analysis Resource Center (NEDARC), located in Salt Lake City, UT. NRC provides support and assistance to states on a variety of topics, operates a clearinghouse, and provides information to professionals and the public. NEDARC specializes in providing assistance on data collection and analysis. The EMSC web site, located at http://bolivia.hrsa.gov/emsc/ provides additional information.