Optimizing Pediatric Patient Safety in the Emergency Care Setting

Pediatrics. 2022 Nov 1;150(5):e2022059673. doi: 10.1542/peds.2022-059673.


This is a revision of the previous American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement titled "Patient Safety in the Emergency Care Setting," and is the first joint policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Emergency Nurses Association to address pediatric patient safety in the emergency care setting. Caring for children in the emergency setting can be prone to medical errors because of a number of environmental and human factors. The emergency department (ED) has frequent workflow interruptions, multiple care transitions, and barriers to effective communication. In addition, the high volume of patients, high-decision density under time pressure, diagnostic uncertainty, and limited knowledge of patients' history and preexisting conditions make the safe care of critically ill and injured patients even more challenging. It is critical that all EDs, including general EDs who care for the majority of ill and injured children, understand the unique safety issues related to children. Furthermore, it is imperative that all EDs practice patient safety principles, support a culture of safety, and adopt best practices to improve safety for all children seeking emergency care. This policy statement outlines the recommendations necessary for EDs to minimize pediatric medical errors and to provide safe care for children of all ages.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Emergency Treatment
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety
  • Pediatrics*
  • United States