Broselow Tape

Understanding Its Pros And Cons

By: - Medicine - July 20, 2011
broselow tape understanding its pros and cons

Some parents panic when their child becomes unresponsive, sluggish or even comatose and promptly rushes them to the emergency ward for quick evaluation.  Equally so, medical staff don’t panic as they’re well versed in emergency room treatment but the emphasis is that they need to move fast to make an accurate diagnosis of the child’s situation.  Understanding the situation requires equipment that can fast deliver necessary information from which medical staff can know who they’re dealing with through the use of physiological information.  New equipment is being developed all of the time to streamline the process of diagnosis while delivering the same quality emergency medical care.  The Broeslow tape is said to deliver on that quality of care.  Working in tandem with the newer  guide to resuscitation and infusion, the tool will provide a fast reference to drugs used in resuscitaton iv and vasoactive infusion.

The best way to understand how the Broselow tape works is to understand how it is used, which can shed some light on why the odd Broselow tape review is giving negative feedback.  Firstly, when an emergency room worker opens the tape, they put the red arrow onto the child’s head so it is pointing towards the top of the head.  Secondly, they position the tape so it is parallel in relation to a child placed in a supine type of position.  Thirdly, they the worker extends the child’s legs so the knees are no longer in a bent position, bending the ankles so the toes point upwards.  Fourthly, they analyze the colored areas that exist under the child’s foot on the bottom side to figure out which 2 to 4 apply to the child’s weight and to figure out a weight estimate if no one is there to confirm their approximate weight like a parent.  However, the issue found some reviews is clear that if the staff do not have time or it would be dangerous to move the child about to determine the child’s weight for medicinal dosages, then even this tape method may fail to assess the child properly, which could ultimately lead to a miscalculation and a child or whoever they are assessing being given too little or too much medication.  Even with the color coded system available to accompany the tape estimation, the chances of making an error are high.

The Broselow tape has its definite advantages, especially in emergency situations where there is no way that emergency service workers can establish a person’s weight for the dose of medicine that they might need.  There is no doubt that if it is a matter of life and death, and all the EMS workers have is the tape, the calculations, though estimated, may help save someone’s life, which has been shown time and time again in emergency rooms across the world.  However, as this Broselow tape review has to also admit that there as pointed out by those with experience, the risks of making mistakes can happen.  Therefore, one can only hope that the estimating skills of emergency workers the world over are so good that the chances of errors happening are few and far between.

Photo: emergency room critical care equipment – public domain photo –

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