Pediatrics can be a very intimidating field of medicine, particularly when it comes to emergencies, trauma, and life-threatening events involving children.

Being prepared to handle emergency situations can be difficult and knowing where to look for quick-reference information in digital form is often daunting.

This is especially true with all the apps out there that include bits and pieces of information specifically related to children, but are not all-encompassing in the realm of pediatric advanced life-saving information. Porter’s Pediatric ALS app for iPhone aims to fill this gap by providing a wealth of knowledge specifically related to children, interspersed with occasional adult emergency management.

The app is developed by Informed Publishing and is based on the popular Porter’s Pocket Guide to Pediatrics written by William Porter and published by Jones and Bartlett Publishing. Since the app has gathered most of its information from a well-vetted and time-honored source, it is assumed that it contains well-reviewed and evidenced-based information.

As I perused the app this seemed to be overwhelmingly true.

The user-interface is relatively easy to use and very self-explanatory. The app opens up into a series of lists through which you can navigate, each list containing a different set of valuable information. By clicking on one of the sections you’re taken to its subset menu. The example below is shown for trauma.

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The trauma section has a good legend that describes the color-coding used throughout the app.

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It also includes a wealth of information including trauma triage criteria, rapid triage instructions, mass casualty team player roles, how to run a triage of multiple patients and establish command, etc. The sections all include overviews and the option to track patients in a notebook area at the bottom, if desired, although this clearly offers some HIPAA-compliancy issues.

I’m not entirely sure how useful these would be in a true emergency, considering they are topics that might serve best if known by heart. However, they are definitely great for learning and review.

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I see the utility of these things most in situations where a known trauma has occurred and the user is waiting (such as in an ER trauma bay, medicopter or ambulance) and has time to do a bit of quick-review or planning.

The burns subset of the trauma section is exceedingly useful. Not only does it contain useful information on burns and how to treat them, but a link to a pediatric and adult burn calculator is also provided.

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The burn calculators included with this app are quite possibly the most straight-forward and useful I’ve encountered. They use actual figures that can be quickly touched in the burned areas to calculate a percentage and subsequently a fluid resuscitation dosage based on the Parkland Formula. The app easily converts between kilograms and pounds, which is a nice addition.