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Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Decontamination of Children

Preparedness and Response for Hospital Emergency Departments

Bioterrorism and Other Public Health Emergencies Tools

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a 27-minute video that demonstrates for emergency responders and hospital emergency department staff how to safely decontaminate children who have been exposed to hazardous chemicals, including those from a bioterrorist attack.

Select to access a streaming Web clip about the video.


This video provides a step-by-step demonstration of the decontamination process in real time and trains clinicians about the nuances of treating infants and children, who require special attention during decontamination. For example, children may be frightened not only by the emergency situation itself, but by the decontamination process as well. Decontamination of children also takes longer than decontamination of adults.

The video:

  • Outlines key differences between decontaminating children and adults.
  • Provides an overview for constructing portable and permanent decontamination showers and designating "hot" and "cold" zones.
  • Provides steps to establishing and maintaining a pediatric decontamination capacity in a hospital emergency department.

Web Clip

In this Web clip, Michael Shannon, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine of Children's Hospital Boston, stresses the importance of implementing a pediatric decontamination training plan. Select for Playback Tips and Software Requirements. Select to open:

Streaming Video Clip (Length, 46 seconds): Dial-Up Connection, 145 KB; Broadband Connection, 2.3 MB.

Playback Tips

  • A streaming video presentation demands a lot from your computer's resources. You may find that the streaming video works better if you close other applications on your computer.
  • To adjust audio level, use the slider in the lower right corner of the RealPlayer®.
  • To start, pause, or stop playback, use the buttons in the left corner.
  • To jump ahead in the session, use the slider at the bottom.

Software Requirements

To access the audio clip, you will need RealPlayer software installed on your computer. To download a free RealPlayer, go to and select the appropriate link. Check the minimum requirements for your system; if you are a Macintosh® or Unix®/Linux® user, select the player appropriate for your computer.

Follow the instructions provided for "download" and "installation." If you are unsure of where you saved the RealPlayer? on your computer, select "Start" on your navigation bar, then "Find," and search for "Real." When you find the folder, select the "Set-Up" box and the installation will begin.

Video Ordering Information

A free, single copy of the video—available in DVD or VHS format—may be ordered by calling the AHRQ Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to Specify Product No. 05-0036-DVD to order the DVD; specify Product No. 05-0036-VD to order the VHS video.

More Information

If you have any questions about AHRQ's bioterrorism and health system preparedness program, contact:

Sally Phillips, Ph.D., R.N.
Director, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Phone: (301) 427-1571

AHRQ Product No. 05-0036-DVD (DVD)
AHRQ Product No. 05-0036-VD (VHS)
Current as of October 2005

Internet Citation:

Decontamination of Children. October 2005. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care