European consensus recommendations for neonatal and paediatric retrievals of positive or suspected COVID-19 patients

Pediatr Res. 2021 Apr;89(5):1094-1100. doi: 10.1038/s41390-020-1050-z. Epub 2020 Jul 7.


Background: The 2020 novel coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) pandemic necessitates tailored recommendations addressing specific procedures for neonatal and paediatric transport of suspected or positive COVID-19 patients. The aim of this consensus statement is to define guidelines for safe clinical care for children needing inter-facility transport while making sure that the clinical teams involved are sufficiently protected from SARS-CoV-2.

Methods: A taskforce, composed of members of the European Society of Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care (ESPNIC) Transport section and the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR), reviewed the published literature and used a rapid, two-step modified Delphi process to formulate recommendations regarding safety and clinical management during transport of COVID-19 patients.

Results: The joint taskforce consisted of a panel of 12 experts who reached an agreement on a set of 17 recommendations specifying pertinent aspects on neonatal and paediatric COVID-19 patient transport. These included: case definition, personal protective equipment, airway management, equipment and strategies for invasive and non-invasive ventilation, special considerations for incubator and open stretcher transports, parents on transport and decontamination of transport vehicles.

Conclusions: Our consensus recommendations aim to define current best-practice and should help guide transport teams dealing with infants and children with COVID-19 to work safely and effectively.

Impact: We present European consensus recommendations on pertinent measures for transporting infants and children in times of the coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2 /COVID-19) pandemic. A panel of experts reviewed the evidence around transporting infants and children with proven or suspected COVID-19. Specific guidance on aspects of personal protective equipment, airway management and considerations for incubator and open stretcher transports is presented. Based on scant evidence, best-practice recommendations for neonatal and paediatric transport teams are presented, aiming for the protection of teams and patients. We highlight gaps in knowledge and areas of future research.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Management / methods
  • Airway Management / standards
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / transmission
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disinfection / methods
  • Disinfection / standards
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Incubators, Infant
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / prevention & control*
  • Noninvasive Ventilation / methods
  • Noninvasive Ventilation / standards
  • Parents
  • Patient Safety / standards
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • Respiration, Artificial / standards
  • Societies, Scientific
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Transportation of Patients / standards*