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Section I. Differences Between a Child's Body and an Adult's Body - Obstetrics Pediatrics

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LESSON 3
PEDIATRIC EMERGENCIES
Section I. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A CHILD'S BODY AND AN ADULT'S BODY
3-1.
INTRODUCTION
Children are very special patients. The response of adults who see a child crying
in pain and frightened is to try to stop the suffering and correct all the problems.
Remember that the adults with the child (his parents, family, friends, and/or bystanders)
also need support. As a basic medical specialist, you can best begin to help the child
and the adults with him by being calmly objective and efficient. A good way to proceed
is for you to identify yourself and start evaluating the child.
3-2.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHILDREN AND ADULTS
Look at a child and an adult, standing side by side, and you can see the most
obvious difference between the two; that is, size. Usually, the adult is larger than the
child. There are, however, other differences between children and adults. For example,
a child's volume of blood is much less than an adult's volume of blood. Your awareness
and knowledge of such differences is essential to effective management of pediatric
emergencies. Some important differences between children and adults are given
below.
a. A child's head is larger in proportion to his body than an adult's head is in
proportion to his body.
b. In babies, the body's temperature control mechanism is immature and
unstable.
c. Children have smaller airways with more soft tissue and a narrowing at the
cricoid cartilage.
d. The respiratory rate of a child is faster than that of an adult.
e. A child's trachea opening and the esophagus opening are closer together
than in an adult.
f. Children dehydrate easily.
g. Children have less blood than adults. This makes children at greater risk than
adults from bleeding to death or developing severe shock from a relatively minor wound.
MD0584
3-2



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