Blount EMS equips fleet with leading-edge pediatric restraints

Katherine Hert, Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) director for the Alabama Department of Public Health and Weslie Powell, Blount EMS Ambulance operations manager, display the pre-use compact storage packaging of the two child pediatric restraint units that will now be in use in Blount EMS ambulances. In the background, an infant is shown in the smaller of the two units, called a Neo-Mate, securely buckled to an ambulance stretcher. The Neo-Mate is for infants from 5 pounds to 14 pounds. The larger, but similar, Pedi-Mate is for children weighing from 10 pounds to 100 pounds. The van in the background belongs to Ferno, supplier of the restraint units.

Katherine Hert, Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) director for the Alabama Department of Public Health and Weslie Powell, Blount EMS Ambulance operations manager, display the pre-use compact storage packaging of the two child pediatric restraint units that will now be in use in Blount EMS ambulances. In the background, an infant is shown in the smaller of the two units, called a Neo-Mate, securely buckled to an ambulance stretcher. The Neo-Mate is for infants from 5 pounds to 14 pounds. The larger, but similar, Pedi-Mate is for children weighing from 10 pounds to 100 pounds. The van in the background belongs to Ferno, supplier of the restraint units.

Blount EMS was one of only 20 EMS services (out of some 300 statewide) to receive a grant for pediatric restraint units from Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC). The agency distributed 200 restraint units – 100 of each type – among the 20 chosen applicants. The $30,000 grant with no matching requirement enabled Blount EMS to receive 24 units –12 of each size– to equip its entire fleet of a dozen ambulances, thus setting the pace in the state industry for best practices in safe child transport.

“Now we can more safely transport children using a restraint system specifically designed, crash tested, and U. S. Department of Transportation-approved to protect children,” manager Weslie Powell said. “In the past, when we transported kids, we often had to use the car seat from the car they were riding in at the crash scene. It wasn’t an ideal restraint because it wasn’t designed to fit a stretcher, and it might have been damaged in the accident, but often it was better than no protective restraint at all after we buckled it down as well and safely as possible.

“This is a huge improvement. It’s quick and easy to buckle in, and it breaks down into a compact size that can be stored and accessed quickly in a small compartment. We’re really excited to be able to provide this upgrade in service and safety to Blount County citizens and especially to their children.”

-Ron Gholson