When an infant or child has an emergency that requires urgent care, one might consider what kind of emergency room (ER) may be best prepared for child patients. Options could include a children’s hospital ER, or a general ER with or without a pediatric area (an area within the ER designated for children such as a separate waiting room or treatment area).
The Institute of Medicine recommends that all types of ERs have a pediatric emergency care coordinator (PECC), defined as a physician, nurse, or other professional (such as a PA or administrator) who educates the ER staff on emergency care for children. A PECC’s responsibilities further include ensuring the availability of pediatric medications and adherence to pediatric clinical guidelines; this in turn underscores how well-equipped and well-prepared an emergency room is to receive and treat children.
Although PECCs are recommended, many U.S. ERs do not have one. The absence of a PECC may make an ER’s pediatric readiness more difficult to maintain. It is also possible for a ER to change pediatric capabilities or PECC-designated staff from one year to the next, making treatment options for children less than clear-cut.
Each year, EMNet surveys all U.S. ERs to ask about the presence of PECCs and makes this information publicly available in findERnow. You can use findERnow to look up your local ER and see whether they already have any PECCs.
National Pediatric Readiness Project
The National Pediatric Readiness Project (Peds Ready) is a quality improvement project that advocates for the best care of children in all ERs in the United States, including U.S. territories. Peds Ready is a partnership between the federal Emergency Medical Services for Children program, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Emergency Nurses Association. The program aims to measure pediatric readiness in ERs and mark improvement over time in the capabilities of ERs to meet the needs of children.
- National Pediatric Readiness Project (NPRP)
- Pediatric emergency care coordinators (PECCs)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program