Pediatric Drowning: A Standard Operating Procedure to Aid the Prehospital Management of Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Resulting From Submersion

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Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children. Resuscitating a child following submersion is a high-pressure situation, and standard operating procedures can reduce error. Currently, the Resuscitation Council UK guidance does not include a standard operating procedure on pediatric drowning. The objective of this project was to design a standard operating procedure to improve outcomes of drowned children.


A literature review on the management of pediatric drowning was conducted. Relevant publications were used to develop a standard operating procedure for management of pediatric drowning.


A concise standard operating procedure was developed for resuscitation following pediatric submersion. Specific recommendations include the following: the Heimlich maneuver should not be used in this context; however, prolonged resuscitation and therapeutic hypothermia are recommended.


This standard operating procedure is a potentially useful adjunct to the Resuscitation Council UK guidance and should be considered for incorporation into its next iteration.

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