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New video shows clinicians how to treat children exposed to chemicals used in bioterrorist attacks

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has 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 how to decontaminate children after they have been 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 by the emergency situation itself and by undergoing decontamination without their parents. Children also take longer to go through the decontamination process than adults.

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, as well as more information about the Agency's emergency preparedness research, can be found online at A free, single copy of the video in DVD format (AHRQ Product No. 05-0036-DVD) or VHS format (AHRQ Product No. 05-0036-VHS) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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