By: Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics
"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) applauds the U.S. Senate for passing a bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that includes a provision requiring the agency to update emergency medical kits onboard commercial airplanes with appropriate medications and medical equipment for children. The provision, modeled after the Airplane Kids in Transit Safety Act (S. 2536), will direct the FAA to begin a public rulemaking process to review and update the contents of the emergency medical kits within a year of the bill's enactment.
"During medical emergencies, every second counts, and during an in-flight emergency, access to safe, effective medications and medical equipment can mean the difference between life and death. Children are not little adults; medications and medical equipment work differently in children, which means they must be available on airplanes in appropriate doses and sizes to meet their needs. Unfortunately, the current emergency medical kits are unable to treat the most common medical emergencies that occur in children during air travel, which include seizures, asthma attacks, and anaphylaxis. Congress has not required the FAA to update the emergency medical kits on airplanes since 1998, making a review of their contents long overdue and necessary.
"The AAP thanks Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) for their leadership on this critical issue and we hope the U.S. House of Representatives will move quickly to pass this common-sense proposal. Our children deserve to be safe, and our families deserve the peace of mind knowing they are protected during air travel with appropriate medications and medical equipment. We must move ahead with needed updates to emergency medical kits used on airplanes."
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