About 6.2 million patient transport ambulance trips occur annually in the United States. According to NHTSA, approximately 10 percent of those 6.2 million patients are children.

Public Meeting Set on Children's Ambulance Trips

NHTSA says what data are available indicate as many as 1,000 ambulance crashes per year involve children, yet there is no uniformity nationwide for how children should be restrained during transport.

Trying to solve an issue identified more than a decade ago -- inconsistency in the way children are restrained in the United States when they are being transported in ground ambulances -- the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has scheduled an Aug. 5 public meeting to discuss its new draft recommendations. A working group of experts developed the guidelines to help local, state, and national emergency medical services personnel and organizations ensure the safety of children transported from the scene of a crash or for some other reason.

NHTSA says data sources are limited, but what data are available indicate as many as 1,000 ambulance crashes per year involve children. But there is no uniformity nationwide for how children should be restrained during transport.

Ground ambulances make about 30 million emergency response calls annually in the United States, and about 6.2 million patient transport ambulance trips occur annually. According to NHTSA, approximately 10 percent of those 6.2 million patients are children.

The draft recommendations are organized into five categories:

1. Child who is uninjured/not ill
2. Child who is ill and/or injured and whose condition does not require continuous and/or intensive medical monitoring and/or interventions
3. Child whose condition requires continuous and/or intensive medical monitoring and/or interventions
4. Child whose condition requires spinal immobilization and/or lying flat
5. Child or children who require transport as part of a multiple patient transport (newborn with mother, multiple children, etc.)

The public meeting will be available as a live webcast. It will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT at U.S. Department of Transportation offices, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, in Washington, D.C. To participate in the webcast, send an e-mail to sandy.sinclair@dot.gov by 5 p.m. EDT July 26 with "Webinar Attendance" in the subject line. To submit written comments on the draft recommendations, visit www.regulations.gov and search DOT Docket ID Number NHTSA-2010-0089 by July 26.

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