The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Emergency Nurses Association have released updated guidelines for emergency care of injured and critically ill children. The guidelines were published in a policy statement in the November issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers revised a joint policy statement from 2009 to highlight recent advances in pediatric emergency care.

The authors write that to improve pediatric readiness and the safety and quality of emergency care for children; emergency departments should have a pediatric emergency care coordinator. All emergency departments should be continually prepared to receive, accurately assess, and at a minimum stabilize and safely transfer acutely ill or injured children.

Also, they should ensure the competence of physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, and other emergency department providers to evaluate and treat children. Recognition of the unique needs of children, including those with special health care needs, is also important.

These updated recommendations are intended to serve as a resource for clinical and administrative leadership in emergency departments as they strive to improve their readiness for children of all ages.

Life-Threatening Techniques

Children have unique physical and psychosocial needs that are heightened in the setting of serious or life-threatening emergencies. The majority of children who are ill and injured are brought to community hospital emergency departments (EDs) by proximity.

The Future of Emergency Care in the US Health System. Although resources within emergency and trauma care systems vary locally, regionally, and nationally, it is essential that ED staff, administrators, and medical directors seek to meet or exceed these recommendations to ensure that high-quality emergency care is available for all children.