Of the estimated 40000 American children ≤14 years old who die each year, approximately 20% die or are pronounced dead in outpatient sites, primarily the emergency department (ED). The ED is distinguishable from other sites at which children die, because the death is often sudden, unexpected, and without a previously established physician-patient care relationship. Despite these difficult circumstances and potentially limited professional experience with the death of a child, the emergency physician must be prepared to respond to the emotional, cultural, procedural, and legal issues that are an inevitable part of caring for ill and injured children who die. All of this must be accomplished while supporting a grieving family. There is also a responsibility to inform the child's pediatrician of the death, who in turn also must be prepared to counsel and support bereaved families. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Emergency Physicians collaborated on the joint policy statement, “Death of a Child in the Emergency Department,” agreeing on recommendations on the principles of care after the death of a child in the ED. This technical report provides the background information, consensus opinion, and evidence, where available, used to support the recommendations found in the policy statement. Important among these are the pediatrician's role as an advocate to advise in the formulation of ED policy and procedure that facilitate identification and management of medical examiners' cases, identification and reporting of child maltreatment, requests for postmortem examinations, and procurement of organ donations.

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