The Role of Emergency Physicians in the Care of Children

Revised October 2019
Reaffirmed June 2013, October 2007
Revised June 2001
Approved January 1996
Rescinded June 1995
Originally approved September 1989


Emergency physicians treat the majority of acutely ill and injured children who seek emergency care in the United States.

By virtue of their training and experience, emergency physicians are qualified and are comfortable with providing initial stabilization and treatment of pediatric emergencies. Ongoing education, practice, and pediatric readiness are critical in maintaining skills and qualifications.

In this capacity, emergency physicians:

  • Advocate for emergency preparedness that is pediatric-specific and ensure that equipment, provider education, staffing, policies and procedures, and environmental designs address the unique needs of pediatric patients in each community.
  • Ensure quality and family-centered patient care in accordance with the ACEP policy on patient- and family- centered care and the role of the emergency physician providing care to a child in the emergency department (Patient- and Family-Centered Care and the Role of the EP Providing Care to a Child in the ED.pdf). This can be accomplished through:
    • Optimizing collaboration and communication between acute care providers and the primary care providers;
    • Optimizing access to facilities, specialists, equipment and staffing;
    • Promoting education for professionals, staff, and the public related to pediatric acute care issues and the prevention of injury and illness.
  • Educate staff on the importance of family presence during procedures and resuscitations in the emergency department.
  • Promote injury and illness prevention for children, parents, and their community.
  • Promote pediatric readiness in the emergency department. For more information, refer to the policy statement on pediatric readiness in the emergency department.  (
  • Collaborate with local, regional or national organizations to advocate for safety and care of the pediatric patient
  • Promote the understanding of the concept of “System of Care”, including payors, providers, technology, community, and family.
  • Advocate for health equity in the care of all children and raise awareness for social factors that contribute to health outcomes such as abuse, neglect, food insecurity, housing insecurity and mental health care.


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