Children requiring emergency care have unique and special needs. This is especially so for those with serious and life-threatening emergencies. There are a variety of components of the emergency care system that provide emergency care to children that are not limited to children. With regard to hospitals, most children are brought to community hospital emergency departments (EDs) by virtue of their availability rather than to facilities designed and operated solely for children. Emergency medical services (EMS) agencies, similarly, provide the bulk of out-of-hospital emergency care to children. It is imperative that all hospital EDs and EMS agencies have the appropriate equipment, staff, and policies to provide high quality care for children. This statement provides guidelines for necessary resources to ensure that children receive quality emergency care and to facilitate, after stabilization, timely transfer to a facility with specialized pediatric services when appropriate. It is important to realize that some hospitals and local EMS systems will have difficulty in meeting these guidelines, and others will develop more comprehensive guidelines based on local resources. It is hoped, however, that hospital ED staff and administrators and local EMS systems administrators will seek to meet these guidelines to best ensure that their facilities or systems provide the resources necessary for the care of children. This statement has been reviewed by and is supported in concept by the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, American Association of Poison Control Centers, American College of Surgeons, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Pediatric Surgical Association, American Trauma Society, Brain Injury Association Inc, Emergency Nurses Association, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions, National Association of EMS Physicians, National Association of EMTs, National Association of School Nurses, National Association of State EMS Directors, National Committee for Quality Assurance, and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

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