Treatments and interventions used to care for children in emergencies should be based on strong evidence. Well-designed clinical trials investigating these interventions for children are therefore indispensable. Parental informed consent is a key ethical requirement for the enrollment of children in such studies. However, if time is limited because of an urgent need for intervention, there are additional ethical challenges to adequately support the informed consent process. The acute situation and associated psychological impact may compromise the ability of parents to give informed consent. Little evidence exists to guide the process of consent seeking for a child's research participation when time is limited. It is also unclear in what circumstances alternatives to prospective informed consent could be applied. This article describes possible options to manage the informed consent process in an appropriate, practical, and, we believe, ethical way when time is limited.
Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.