Safety Problems With Your Medical Device

July 11, 2014

As technology provides more health care options, children are frequently diagnosed or treated with one or more medical devices.

If there are problems that prevent the safe use of pediatric medical devices, FDA wants to know about them. FDA wants caregivers to report problems or concerns to help ensure that pediatric devices can be used safely and deliver the intended benefits. And the agency wants to hear about the problems when they happen, especially if they might jeopardize the safety or care of a child.

Many Kinds of Devices

Medical devices range from the simple items in your medicine cabinet, like adhesive bandages, to complicated equipment, such as X-ray machines and pacemakers. Devices such as syringes and asthma inhalers help with the delivery of a drug or vaccine. Devices may be disposable, reusable or even implantable, such as cochlear implants (for severe hearing loss) and joint replacements. Devices might monitor a child’s breathing, oxygen level, blood sugar level or blood pressure.

Although adolescents and some older children may be involved with using their devices, often a parent or other adult will either need to supervise or be the primary user. FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) considers patients through age 21 to be pediatric device users.

FDA has developed and administers regulations designed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medical devices. Nevertheless, parents and caregivers should be aware of the potential for problems that may lead to the device working improperly, interfere with its effectiveness, or even harm the child. Some problems may be a result of a device not working as it should, while others might happen because of the way the parent or child uses the device. If a device is not easy to use, a child or caregiver could experience problems operating the device, which could in turn lead to an injury.

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