Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

New Video Shows Clinicians How To Treat Children Exposed to Chemicals Used in Bioterrorist Attacks

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Press Release Date: December 6, 2005

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released The Decontamination of Children: Preparedness and Response for Hospital Emergency Departments, a 27-minute video that trains emergency responders and hospital emergency department staff to decontaminate children after being exposed to hazardous chemicals during a bioterrorist attack or other disaster.

This video provides a step-by-step demonstration of the decontamination process in real time and trains clinicians about the nuances of treating infants and children, who require special attention during decontamination procedures. For example, children may be frightened not only by the emergency situation itself, but also may be afraid to undergo decontamination without their parents; children also take longer to go through the decontamination process than adults.

"This video provides a valuable and straightforward overview for first responders and hospital emergency personnel on decontaminating infants, children, and parents who have been exposed to dangerous chemical agents," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "I hope this will be a valuable tool for those taking care of children, who will be one of our most vulnerable populations during a bioterrorist attack or other emergency."

Produced for AHRQ's Bioterrorism Preparedness Research Program by Michael Shannon, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine at Children's Hospital, Boston, the video outlines key differences between decontaminating children and adults; provides an overview for constructing portable and permanent decontamination showers and designating hot and cold zones; and provides steps to establishing and maintaining pediatric decontamination capacity in a hospital emergency department.

A short clip from "The Decontamination of Children" can be found online at A free, single copy of the video—available in DVD or VHS format—may be ordered by calling 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to

AHRQ has funded more than 50 emergency preparedness-related studies, workshops, and conferences to help hospitals and health care systems prepare for medical emergencies. More information about these projects can be found online at

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1241 or (301) 427-1865.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care