Decontamination of the pediatric patient

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Purpose of review

This article will review current guidelines for decontamination procedures for chemical, biological, and radiologic exposures with a focus on pediatric specific considerations.

Recent findings

There has been a global increase in terrorist incidents that expose large populations to toxic agents associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The pathophysiology, treatment, and management of these toxic exposures may be unfamiliar to the healthcare provider. Additionally, children are particularly vulnerable to terrorist threats as they have unique anatomical, physiological, psychological, and developmental characteristics distinct from the adult population.


Because pediatric patients are at greater risk than the general population, providers should be prepared to deliver age-appropriate care. Additionally, the ideal decontamination protocol is designed to maintain family units to maximize efficiency and minimize psychological trauma.

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