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Prehospital paediatric emergency care: paediatric triage
  1. J M Sandell1,
  2. I K Maconochie2,
  3. F Jewkes3
  1. 1
    Department of Child Health, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Dorset, UK
  2. 2
    Department of Accident & Emergency, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Wing, Imperial College School of Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3
    NHS Pathways – Connecting for Health, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Julian M Sandell, Department of Child Health, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB, UK; julian.sandell{at}


The practice of triage was conceived during the Napoleonic wars, with the aim of salvaging those soldiers whose injuries were readily treatable, returning them to the battlefield at the earliest opportunity. Literally, the word triage means “to sieve” or “to sort” (French trier), and those earlier battlefield principles have been refined and expanded to now encompass trauma and medical emergencies, with triage practiced in prehospital and hospital settings. To address the anatomical, physiological and developmental differences encountered when dealing with children, specific paediatric triage systems have also been developed, and this article discusses their merits.

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  • Competing interests Declared. IKM is a coauthor of the Paediatric Triage Tape, available commercially from TSG Associates, under the registered trade name SMART TAPE.