The establishment and maintenance of an adequate airway is often the single most important initial therapy provided to a victim of severe injury. This may be accomplished by simple techniques such as placement of an oral or nasopharyngeal airway as well as bag-mask ventilation techniques. More advanced techniques such as endotracheal intubation require a higher level of training and expertise for both prehospital and hospital providers. Although paramedics routinely practice endotracheal intubation in the field, there are increasing reports on the many potential risks associated with these procedures as well as increased morbidity and mortality in both pediatric and adult patients. These data have important implications for field airway management in the critically ill trauma patient.