2008 Pediatric-Related News

AAP Study Assesses Complementary Alternative Medicine for Children (12/19/2008)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a report on complementary alternative medicine (CAM) titled “The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pediatrics”. The study reviews terminology; common therapies; medical, ethical, insurance, and research issues; provides resources; and discusses strategies for improving communication for families and patients. About 30% of healthy children and 50% of children with recurrent, chronic or incurable conditions use CAM.

Dr. Joseph Wright Appointed to FDA’s Pediatric Advisory Committee (12/12/2008)

Joseph Wright, MD, MPH, has been appointed to the 14 member Pediatric Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Wright is the medical director for the EMSC National Resource Center and executive director of the Children’s Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.

Members of the FDA Pediatric Advisory Committee are knowledgeable in pediatric research, pediatric subspecialties, statistics, and/ or biomedical ethics. The committee advises the Commissioner of the FDA on a variety of issues, including: pediatric labeling controversies and identifying research priorities.

ACEP Releases Report on States’ Emergency Care (12/12/2008)

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has released its 2009 National Report Card on the State of Emergency Care, which assesses emergency care systems in each state and the District of Columbia. More than 100 objective metrics were measured across the following five categories: access to emergency care, quality and patient safety environment, medical liability environment, public health and injury prevention, and disaster preparedness.

Poisoning Remains Threat to Children’s Health (12/05/2008)

Approximately 86,000 children in 2004 were treated in hospital emergency departments after ingesting various poisonous substances, including drugs and cleaning products. The recent study, “Unintentional Child Poisonings Treated in United States Hospital Emergency Departments: National Estimates of Incident Cases, Population-Based Poisoning rates, and Product Involvement” appearing in the journal of Pediatrics, analyzes statistics on children years and younger available through the US Consumer Product Safety Commission National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The findings indicate that children age one or two are involved in 70% of poisonings. Additionally, the study found that 13.3% of child poisoning cases resulted in a hospital admission.

Survey Indicates Vaccine Profit Margin Concerns Doctors (12/05/2008)

About half of U.S. pediatricians and family physicians who responded to a recent survey indicated that they had delayed purchasing specific vaccines for their practice due to financial reasons. The article, “Primary Care Physician Perspectives on Reimbursement for Childhood Immunizations,” appearing in the journal of Pediatrics, highlights the increasing financial strain involved in administering vaccinations. Approximately 20% of physicians strongly disagreed that “reimbursement for vaccine purchase” was adequate and 11% reported that their practice considered not providing vaccinations for privately insured children.

ENA Report Ranks Traffic Safety Laws (11/21/2008)

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) has released a report this week examining the most effective state safety laws and their impact on reducing traffic accident injuries and fatalities. The 2008 ENA National Scorecard on State Roadway Laws: A Blueprint for Injury Prevention was created as a tool to assist in advocating for better roadway laws.

MCHB DataSpeak Series Focuses on Health Behaviors of School-Aged Children (11/21/2008)

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is pleased to announce the next program in the DataSpeak Series: "New Findings on Health Behaviors of School-Age Children (HBSC)." On December 3, 2008, Dr. Ronald Iannotti and Dr. Bruce Simons-Morton will present new international findings from the 2005/2006 HBSC survey. They will highlight findings on U.S. school-age children's behaviors related to obesity and physical activity, bullying, and substance use, comparing their prevalence in this country to that in other nations. They will also discuss international differences in health policies related to these behaviors.

AAP Calls for Children to Receive Influenza Vaccine (11/06/2008)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released the policy statement Prevention of Influenza: Recommendations for Influenza Immunization of Children 2008-2009. The statement recommends the influenza vaccine for children 6 months to 18 years of age. It expands on previous recommendations to include school-aged children, who are most likely to contract the disease and require medical care. The statement also recommends that household contacts and out-of-home care providers of children with high-risk conditions and healthy children younger than age 5, pregnant women, and health care professionals also receive the vaccine.

Study Indicates Earlier Vaccinations for Whooping Cough Could Reduce Illness (11/06/2008)

A recent study appearing in the journal Pediatrics indicates that accelerating the pertussis vaccine (whooping cough) for infants could prevent about 1,236 illnesses and seven deaths a year.  Researchers analyzed national data to determine the effects of immunizing infants two weeks earlier than normal, at six weeks of age instead of two months. Rates of pertussis have been increasing in the United States and can be fatal to infants; in 2003 there were 13 fatal cases of pertussis in children.

Anesthesia May Pose Risk to Young Children (10/31/2008)

A recent study from Columbia University found that children under three who received anesthesia were twice as likely to be diagnosed with developmental or behavioral disorders. The data examined children who were given anesthesia for a hernia operation compared with 5,000 children who had never received anesthesia. The results of the study were presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ meeting.

FDA Releases Statement Regarding Voluntary Change of Cough and Cold Medication Warnings (10/31/2008)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement regarding the voluntary change of cough and cold medication warnings. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents most makers of over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medicines in children, recently announced that its members are voluntarily modifying the product labels to state "do not use" in children under 4 years of age. The FDA statement describes its support for the measures by the CHPA and discusses its continuing assessment of OTC medications; it further recommends that parents and caregivers adhere to dosing instructions.

Study Finds 3 Million Children Have Food or Digestive Allergies (10/24/08)

According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3 million children younger than 18 years of age in the U.S. have food allergies. Between 1997 and 2007, there was an 18% increase in food allergies in this age group.

The study found that eight specific foods — milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat — accounted for 90% of the reported allergies. These findings are reported in the new study Food Allergy Among U.S. Children: Trends in Prevalence and Hospitalizations.

CDC Program Offers Resources for EMS Officials (10/16/08)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the formation of the Public Health Law Program (PHLP), which establishes new resources for professionals and policy makers to use in strengthening their agencies’ and jurisdictions’ legal preparedness for public health emergencies.

The program works with representatives from public health, emergency management, law enforcement, judiciary, and corrections to ensure that resources focus on the priorities and needs of those who have front-line responsibilities to protect the public from the threats posed by public health emergencies.

Samples of Prescription Medication May Pose Threat for Children (10/09/08)

A study published in the October (Vol. 122, No. 4) Pediatrics found that in 2004 more than 500,000 children received samples of four medications that later received serious safety warnings by the Food and Drug Administration. Medications, such as Advair for asthma, Adderall and Strattera for attention deficit disorder, and Elidel for eczema, may have put children’s health at risk.

A researcher on the study suggested that the safety of samples had not been thoroughly evaluated. Additionally, the samples often lacked instructions for children and information on what to do in the event of an overdose.

FEMA Makes Award for Equipment and Training to Smaller Emergency Response Agencies (10/09/08)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced an award of equipment and training worth $17.6 million to 1,045 emergency response agencies in 46 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico under the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP). Since the program’s inception in 2005, DHS has provided roughly 6,800 CEDAP awards worth more than $120 million to support all hazards response capabilities in smaller jurisdictions throughout the country.

CEDAP grants will fund equipment and training in five categories: extrication devices; thermal imaging, night vision, and video surveillance tools; chemical, biological, and radiological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and vehicle tracking tools. Only law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and other emergency responder agencies with specific financial and capability needs are eligible to receive a CEDAP grant.

National ED Data Coming to HCUP (10/02/08)

The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research, is pleased to announce the upcoming release of a unique and powerful database: the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS). NEDS will provide national estimates of emergency department (ED) encounters in the U.S. NEDS can be used to create national estimates of ED visits, both treat-and-release and those that resulted in a hospital admission. It contains clinical and non-clinical information on all patients, regardless of payer — including those covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and the uninsured.

Researchers and policymakers can use its more than 25 million records to investigate access to health care in a changing marketplace; identify trends in ED utilization, charges, and outcomes; and conduct market area research and variation analyses.

The 2006 NEDS is scheduled for release in early 2009. For more information, contact the HCUP Central Distributor or HCUP User Support at hcup@ahrq.gov.

National Child Health Day is Monday, October 6 (09/19/2008)

Child Health Day is celebrating its 80th anniversary Monday, October 6. Over the years, National Child Health Day has focused America's attention on some of the most urgent child health issues of the day such as: prenatal care, adolescent health issues, day care on child development, childhood injury prevention, and immunization. This year's focus on obesity prevention recognizes that overweight kids are everyone's concern.

Non-profit EMS Agencies Eligible to Apply for HeartRescue Grants (09/19/2008)

During the past eight years the Medtronic Foundation has partnered with more than 150 communities and organizations around the world and provided them with more than $4 million in HeartRescue grants. These groups promote the benefits of early defibrillation and work to train community members on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator use.

The grants support school-based training in emergency activation and CPR. Grants range from $5,000 to $30,000 per year. The foundation may make multi-year grants, typically for two to three years, with a maximum of $30,000 per year. An online application must be submitted by midnight on October 15.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy Effective for Treating Trauma Symptoms in Children and Teens (09/12/2008)

Individual and group cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in reducing depressive disorders, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, or other trauma symptoms in children and teenagers, according to an extensive review of dozens of studies conducted by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (CPS). The CPS Task Force is an independent group of scientists partially funded by the federal government.

Many clinicians, however, are using other types of therapy -- such as art, play, or drug therapy -- which are not proven to be effective. Mental health organizations have estimated that more than 75 percent of U.S. mental health professionals who treat children and teens with post traumatic stress disorder are using therapies that are not known to be effective.

The CPS Task Force findings are published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. A summary of the CPS Task Force research review is also available.

Study Shows that ACGME Work Hour Limits for Resident Physicians Do Not Reduce Errors (09/04/2008)

The recently published study, “Effects of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Duty Hour Limits on Sleep, Work Hours, and Safety,” which was partly funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, found that the 2003 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) work hour policy for resident physicians did not achieve its desired effect of reducing the number of fatigue-related medical errors and injuries in three pediatric centers.

A total of 220 residents completed daily logs in the study. Under the new standards, the mean length of extended shifts decreased slightly, and rates of burnout decreased significantly, from 75.4 percent to 57 percent. However, 24- to 30-hour shifts remained common. The overall rate of medication errors did not change; nor did rates of motor vehicle crashes, occupational exposure, self-reported medical errors, or overall ratings of work and education experiences.

According to the study authors, the fact that implementation of the ACGME standards did not improve total work hours or error rates is of considerable concern, given that residents’ traditional long work hours have been shown to endanger both themselves and their patients. They suggest that effective implementation of evidence-based work hour limits -- including the elimination of residents’ traditional 24-hour shifts -- should be a high priority in academic hospitals.

This article is available in the August issue of Pediatrics. To access the article, go to: .

NIH Offers New Pediatric Research Resource for Parents (08/22/2008)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering a new web-based educational tool to help empower parents and children with the information they need to understand clinical research and make informed decisions about participating in a study. In a format geared to all educational levels, the website combines text, graphics, and documentary film based on hundreds of hours of interviews with experts, parents, and children themselves to give viewers an “inside view” of pediatric clinical research.

The site has sufficient content to be used as an educational tool for trainees and junior faculty about the key concepts of pediatric clinical research. The DVD can also be downloaded to run in emergency department waiting rooms.

AHA Supports Use of Ambulatory Monitoring of Children with Suspected Hypertension (08/15/2008)

The American Heart Association (AHA) released a scientific statement in its journal, Hypertension, supporting the use of ambulatory monitoring as a useful tool in evaluating blood pressure in children with suspected hypertension.

Research indicates that 1 in 5 children found to be hypertensive by ambulatory monitoring would be missed by clinical and self measurements. The AHA recommends that monitoring be done only by those with special training and that devices be programmed to record BP every 20 to 30 minutes during waking hours and every 30 to 60 minutes during sleep.

To read this statement, go to: http://hyper.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/HYPERTENSIONAHA.108.190329v1.

EMS Study Tour to Visit Ambulance Services Across the Western U.S (08/08/2008)

A multi-city EMS Study Tour will take place October 7-14, 2008, to foster greater collaboration and learning in the EMS community. The diverse tour of EMS and ambulance services will give participants first-hand experience on how departments are resolving and reacting to today’s EMS needs.

“The goal of the tour is to give emergency services providers from across the world an opportunity to learn from one another and discuss how they deal with issues such as recruitment, retention, resource, and response challenges,” said Gary Wingrove, president of North Central EMS Institute. “The tour is open to anyone who is looking to discover and learn how other countries in the world are evolving EMS to fit their ever changing needs and how diverse EMS is today.”

AHA Issues Guidelines for Management of Stroke in Children (07/24/2008)

The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued its first guidelines for managing stroke in children. The guidelines advise that providers "be cautious when attempting to apply [their] knowledge of stroke in adults to children with stroke," given differences in causes, manifestations, and treatment responses.

Evidence-based recommendations are provided for the prevention of ischemic stroke along with recommendations on the evaluation and management of hemorrhagic and perinatal stroke and cerebral sinovenous thrombosis in children. Suggested protocols for dosing of heparin and warfarin in children are also included.

This manual is available for download at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/STROKEAHA.108.189696v1.

NHTSA Announces Dates for National Child Passenger Safety Week (07/24/2008)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in collaboration with its partners, has set aside the week of September 21-27, 2008, as National Child Passenger Safety Week. The week will begin with "National Seat Check,” scheduled for Saturday, September 20, where certified child seat technicians throughout the U.S. will provide free on site child seat inspections.

To receive promotional items, such as “Save the Date” cards, and ideas to celebrate Child Passenger Safety Week in English and in Spanish, visit NHTSA’s Child Passenger Safety Week section on its website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/.

CDC Report finds Fewer Kids Suffering from Rotavirus (07/24/2008)

Rotavirus activity this season appears to have started later than usual and has been less severe than during any of the previous seasons for which data are available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR interim report released in June.)

Hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and physician visits were also substantially reduced at medical centers conducting prospective rotavirus surveillance. The number of laboratory tests performed for rotavirus from January 1 to May 3, 2008, was 37 percent lower than usual, and the percent of all tests conducted for gastroenteritis that were positive for rotavirus was 79 percent lower than usual.

The report indicates that marked changes in rotavirus activity may be due to a newly introduced rotavirus vaccine for infants. In 2006, a new rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq (Merck & Co. Inc.), was recommended for routine immunization of U.S. infants at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Clinical trial results indicated that this live, oral vaccine prevented 74 percent of all rotavirus cases, about 98 percent of severe cases, and about 96 percent of hospitalizations due to rotavirus. Ongoing monitoring is needed to confirm the impact of vaccination this year and to monitor the impact of the vaccine on rotavirus disease and its epidemiology over time.”

The interim report can be found online at: http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/.

CDC Posts SUIDS Training Material (07/17/2008)

To guide those who investigate infant deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released The Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation (SUIDI).

The publication is divided into four sections: Infant Death Investigation Foundation Skills, Case Interviews, Infant Scene Investigation and Pre-Autopsy, and Post–Autopsy Reporting.

For more information, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/sids/TrainingMaterial.htm.

New AHRQ Report Reveals that Low-income Children More Likely to Visit ED (06/19/2008)

A new report from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) reveals that low-income children made nearly twice as many visits to hospital emergency departments (ED) as high-income children in 2005. Data from 23 states showed that there were about 55 million visits to EDs in 2005, with close to a quarter of these visits for individuals less than 18 years of age. Among children, six of the top ten reasons for ED visits were for injuries, such as bruises, open wounds, sprains and strains, broken arms, and other injuries due to external causes.

To view "Pediatric Emergency Department Visits in Community Hospitals from Selected States, 2005," visit: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb52.jsp .

AAP to Offer Neonatal/Pediatric Critical Care Transport Medicine Course (06/12/2008)

The Neonatal and Pediatric Critical Care Transport Medicine course is being offered October 12-14, in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) 2008 National Conference and Exhibition. Renowned faculty will lead participants through discussion panels and case-based scenarios with specialized clinical and administrative tracks on: (1) therapeutic interventions for brain injury, (2) innovations in high-risk “outborn” deliveries, (3) the latest research on neonatal and pediatric transport medicine and (4) the S.T.A.B.L.E. cardiac module.

New Guide for Establishing a Patient Safety Advisory Council Now Available (06/05/2008)

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) researchers have developed a new guide for hospital leaders and those who are interested in learning how to encourage patients and families to partner with health care providers on community-based patient safety advisory councils. “The Guide for Developing a Community-Based Patient Safety Advisory Council” was developed through AHRQ’s Partnerships in Implementing Patient Safety grants program. This team of researchers was led by Kathryn Leonhardt, M.D., of Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin .

To view the guide, visit: http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/advisorycouncil/.

ACEP Releases Report on Boarding Patients in the ED (05/22/2008)

A new report on patient boarding, titled “Emergency Department Crowding: High-Impact Solutions,” has just been released by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). The document discusses several issues that are created when hospital patients are boarded in the emergency department (ED) as well as several innovative solutions. The report is available at:


New Study Evaluates Drug-Related Harm among Hospitalized Children (05/16/2008)

A study published in the April 2008 issue of Pediatrics found that a new "trigger tool" dramatically increased the detection of adverse drug events in hospital settings. With this tool, the authors of this study found a significantly higher rate of adverse drug events than previous studies (11.1 adverse drug events per 100 admissions)

Twelve children’s hospitals, convened through the Child Health Corporation of America (CHCA), worked to adapt the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Adverse Drug Event Trigger Tool for adults to more appropriately and accurately detect adverse drug events in pediatric hospital settings.

Experts from the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality provided both improvement and safety expertise in support of a CHCA collaborative improvement program to reduce the frequency of these events in pediatric hospitals.

To review the April 2008 issue of Pediatrics, visit: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/121/4/e927 .

Joint Commission Recommends Ways to Prevent Medication Errors in Kids (05/01/2008)

On April 11, the Joint Commission released new recommendations for hospitals to prevent pediatric medication errors. The recommendations include: (1) All pediatric patients should be weighed in kilograms at admission. (2) Except in emergencies, no high-risk drugs should be administered to patients who have not been weighed. (3) Use oral syringes to give oral medications to prevent inadvertent intravenous administration. (4) Clearly differentiate drugs that have been repackaged for children so they won't be confused with adult formulations. If possible, use commercially available drugs that are formulated for pediatric patients.

The alert cited a study appearing in a recent issue of Pediatrics, which found a mean rate of eleven adverse drug events per 100 patients in a random chart review at twelve children's hospitals. Nearly one-quarter were considered preventable, and nearly caused temporary harm, most often itching and nausea.

MCHB Releases Grants Data: EMSC Performance Measure Data to be Available Soon (05/01/2008)

The Health Resource and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) announce the release of its Discretionary Grant Information System (DGIS) web reports. These reports display financial, national performance measure, and abstract data collected annually from more than 900 grants issued by MCHB.

The data collected in DGIS will help MCHB assess the effectiveness of its grant programs. Public health professionals and researchers are encouraged to review the reports to learn more about the grant programs offered through MCHB.

Abstracts for EMSC grants are now available. EMSC performance measure data will be available in the near future.

New Pediatric Policy Statement Receives Endorsement (04/17/2008)

The American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine released a joint statement with the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America on the new policy statement, Management of Pediatric Trauma. The statement is in the April 2008 issue of Pediatrics

ACEP Releases Clinical Policy on Pediatric ED Sedation (03/20/2008)

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has released a new clinical policy on the sedation of pediatric patients in the emergency department (ED). The new policy is based on work conducted through an EMSC Program contract.

    IOM Recommends New National Program to Evaluate Effectiveness of Health Care Products and Services (03/10/2008)

    A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) offers a blueprint for a national program to assess the effectiveness of clinical services and to provide credible, unbiased information about what really works in health care.

    The report recommends that Congress direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a program with the authority, expertise, and resources necessary to set priorities for evaluating clinical services and to conduct systematic reviews of the evidence. This program would also be responsible for developing and promoting rigorous standards for clinical practice guidelines, which could help minimize the use of questionable services and target services to the patients most likely to benefit.

    Copies of Knowing What Works in Health Care: A Roadmap for the Nation are available from the National Academies Press.

    DHS Announces 2008 Preparedness Grant Program (03/10/2008)

    In fiscal year 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will award more than $3 billion in grants to states, territories, urban areas, and transportation authorities under 14 programs to bolster national preparedness capabilities and protect critical infrastructure. This represents an increase of $376.3 million over last year to enhance the nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. Of the $3 billion, $1.69 billion is set aside for the Homeland Security Grant Program and $852.4 million is set aside for the Infrastructure Protection Program.

    For further information on these grants, see the DHS web site.

    CDC Releases New Report on the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (02/29/2008)

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response (COTPER) has released Public Health Preparedness: Mobilizing State by State. The report highlights the progress that has been made in state and local preparedness and response, identifies preparedness challenges facing public health departments, and outlines CDC’s efforts to address those challenges.

    Designed to increase accountability regarding the country’s investment in preparedness activities, the report presents national data as well as state-specific snapshots for all 50 states and four directly funded localities: Chicago; Los Angeles County; New York City; and Washington, DC.

    CDC's Injury Center to Release “Choking Game” Article (02/21/2008)

    In this week's issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports on "Unintentional Strangulation Deaths Among Children and Adolescents: The "Choking Game" – United States, 1995-2007.” The “choking game,” typically played by youths, is defined as self-strangulation or strangulation by another person with the hands or a noose to achieve a brief euphoric state caused by cerebral hypoxia.

    This study will help healthcare providers, educators, and parents become more aware of this behavior so that they can recognize early warning signs, such as: discussion of the game or its aliases; bloodshot eyes; marks on the neck; frequent, severe headaches; disorientation after spending time alone; and ropes, scarves, and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor.

    AAP Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council to Develop Strategic Plan (02/07/2008)

    The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council (DPAC) is currently developing an AAP strategic action plan for the next three to five years. Interested parties who wish to receive email updates on the plan’s progress or on other DPAC initiatives should send their contact information and a brief description of their interest or involvement to DisasterReady@aap.org.

    More disaster preparedness information (including an update from the AAP) is available through the AAP Children and Disasters website.

    New York City Health Department Warns Parents to Keep Camphor Products Away from Children (01/25/2008)

    Last week, the New York City (NYC) Health Department warned New York City parents and caregivers to keep products containing camphor away from children. Some camphor products can be toxic to children when accidentally ingested or excessively applied to skin. Three recent cases of seizures associated with camphor have been confirmed in the Bronx. All three children have recovered. The Health Department is investigating seven additional cases suspected to be associated with camphor.

    Camphor, alconfor in Spanish, is a common ingredient in many products used for colds, pest control, to ward off illness, or as air freshener. Camphor is sold in cubes or as a balm or ointment. Camphor cubes and tablets are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as cough or cold medicine.

    The main symptoms of camphor poisoning in children include stomachache, nausea, vomiting, irritability, agitation, and seizures. Symptoms may occur very quickly after exposure – as early as five to 20 minutes. For more information, read the press release.

    NRC's Joseph Wright Named to National EMS Advisory Council (01/18/2008)

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week announced the appointment of 25 individuals to serve on the newly-established National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (NEMSAC). The purpose of NEMSAC is to provide advice and counsel to the Department of Transportation on national Emergency Medical Services (EMS) initiatives, while offering a forum for the non-Federal deliberation of national EMS issues.

    The EMSC National Resource Center (NRC) would like to congratulate its medical director, Joseph Wright, MD, MPH, for his appointment to the committee. Dr. Wright is a pediatric emergency physician at Children's National Medical Center, executive director for the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National, and a professor of pediatrics at the George Washington University Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

    FDA Releases Recommendations Regarding Use of Over-the-Counter Cough and Cold Products (01/18/2008)

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued a Public Health Advisory for parents and caregivers recommending that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products should not be used to treat infants and children younger than 2 years of age because serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur from such use. OTC cough and cold products include decongestants, expectorants, antihistamines, and antitussives (cough suppressants) for the treatment of colds.

    There are a wide variety of rare, serious adverse events reported with cough and cold products. They include death, convulsions, rapid heart rates, and decreased levels of consciousness.

    The announcement does not include the FDA's final recommendation about use of OTC cough and cold medicines in children ages 2 to 11 years. The agency's review of data for 2- to-11-year-olds is continuing. The agency plans to issue its recommendations on use of the products in children ages 2 to 11 years to the public as soon as the review is complete.

    Medicaid Reimbursement for Car Seats Is Cost-Effective Health Policy (01/18/2008)

    A study released on January 16 from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows that distributing car safety seats among economically disadvantaged children could be as cost-effective as long-established federal vaccination programs. The research, published this week in the journal Ambulatory Pediatrics, offers insights for state and national lawmakers involved in setting future healthcare policy, particularly for those interested in exploring programs with a greater focus on preventive care for children.

    The proposed Child Restraint Systems (CRS) Program would provide access to child restraints and education via a physician's prescription. Assuming enrollment in a Medicaid-based CRS program at birth, every child would receive a convertible child safety seat (combined infant and toddler seat) along with pertinent education when discharged from the hospital. At age four the child would receive a belt-positioning booster seat to be used to about age 8. The net cost per beneficiary of the 8-year program would be $32.

    Including all medical and relevant societal costs, a program in which physicians write prescriptions for car seats for Medicaid-eligible children would achieve the following yearly cost savings per 100,000 children: reduce medical costs by $1 million, regain $100,000 in the cost of parental work loss, and reduce future victim productivity costs by $2.7 million. When researchers looked at comparative effectiveness between their theoretical program and seven vaccines, they found that only Haemophilus Influenzae B and Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccinations were more cost-effective than the CRS disbursement and education program.