Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

Printer Friendly Version

Title: Recommendation for Urgent Care in Schools

Category: Access To Children's Health Care


The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with a statement from its committee on school health. This committee made several recommendations to prevent unnecessary suffering and death at schools by using better preparation and by putting emergency plans in place.

Some of the recommendations include:

1. Every school district identify certain individuals authorized and trained to make urgent medical care decisions. This might be a pediatrician or family doctor assigned to a school, a school nurse, or a person trained in CPR appointed for a given school.

2. An emergency care manual with orders for first aid, clearly written and in place be available for nurses, athletic staff and faculty volunteers.

3. Procedures in place for summoning help in case of a catastrophe or urgent care situation. In other words, telephone numbers listed to call rescue squads and a plan for transporting a sick child to the hospital or medical facility.

4. A school nurse in each building should be the key person carrying out such programs since he or she is the person most familiar with student's health problems. All nurses should be trained in such emergency care by a physician, emergency care technician and/or other specialist trained in emergency care. This is an area in which our state needs to do a better job on and support good pay and availability of school nurses for the many children serviced in our public and private schools throughout our state. Presently school nurses in Louisiana are underpaid and very much understaffed.

5. In the cases where school nurses or physicians are not available, two or more members of the regular school staff should be designated and trained for handling emergencies. They should establish protocols for handling such emergencies until a nurse or physician or emergency personnel can be reached. In particular, they should be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and treatment of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can occur on any school ground when a child is stung by a bee, wasp, hornet or bitten by a red ant. In cases where training is unavailable to school personnel by physicians or nurses, Red Cross or emergency medical technicians should be called on for such training. These faculty can be used to help nurses further train all of the teachers in the school in basic first aid principles.

6. Legislation should be encouraged in every state for a Good Samaritan act to legally protect all emergency care givers.

7. An emergency medical kit and anaphylaxis kit should be kept with the proper medications in the school and the kit should be made available to trained staff volunteers.

8. Emergencies related to participation in athletics can be handled by trainers or athletic staff who are trained in sports medicine and emergency care.

9. Parents should be informed about injuries their children receive at school as quickly as possible. In cases where a parent or legal guardian cannot be reached, the name and telephone number of a backup individual should be in place and that person should be contacted in case emergency medical care is necessary. A description and disposition of any illnesses or injuries treated at the school should be written up and recorded according to predetermined procedures for that school and district. Further description and classification of school medical emergency and sports injuries and treatment can be obtained from School Health, a guide for health professionals through the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on school health by calling 1-800-433-9016 or writing to:

The American Academy of Pediatrics
P.O. Box 927
Elkgrove Village, NY 60009-0927