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A simple intervention improves the recording of vital signs in children presenting to the emergency department
  1. C Bird1,
  2. A Shea2,
  3. C A Michie1,
  4. G George2
  1. 1
    Paediatrics Department, Ealing Hospital, Southall, London, UK
  2. 2
    Emergency Medicine Department, Horton Hospital, Banbury, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr C Bird, Paediatrics Department, Ealing Hospital, Southall, London UB1 3HW, UK; chrisbird{at}


Objectives: Vital signs are often not documented in paediatric patients at triage. This study was conducted to find out whether the use of a small, laminated aide memoire and a short teaching session might improve this situation.

Methods: A preliminary audit of the measurement of vital signs in 106 children aged less than 6 years was carried out in a district general hospital emergency department (ED). A small card illustrating normal values for these was then distributed—this could be attached to staff identity cards. At the same time doctors and nursing staff were given a teaching session on the importance of these measures. The audit was then repeated in a further 106 children.

Results: There was significant improvement in recording of all vital signs with the exception of blood pressure and temperature.

Conclusion: A low-cost card together with a short period of training offers a useful strategy to improve the rate of documentation of vital signs in children presenting to the ED.

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  • Additional supplemental figs 1 and 2 are published online only at

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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