ENA, AAP and ACEP Unite on Optimizing Child Patient Safety in Emergency Settings

October 3, 2022

Associations emphasize policies ensuring EDs have trained personnel, supplies and equipment critical for managing pediatric emergencies.



SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Oct. 3, 2022) – Three medical organizations representing more than 157,000 emergency nurses, physicians and pediatric health care providers have issued joint recommendations for improving the safety of care of children in emergency care settings.


On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians and Emergency Nurses Association released a policy statement, “Optimizing Pediatric Patient Safety in the Emergency Care Setting,” along with an accompanying technical report. Both will be published in the Journal of Emergency Nursing as well as the November 2022issues of Pediatrics and the Annals of Emergency Medicine.


“The number one concern of all emergency nurses is the health and safety of our patients who come into the ED,” said ENA President Jenn Schmitz, MSN, EMT-P, CEN, CPEN, CNML, FNP-C, NE-BC. “Pediatric patients require more specialized care and equipment than adult patients so it’s imperative for everyone in the ED to work together as a whole and be fully committed to the proper care of pediatric patients that come in.”


The emergency department can experience frequent workflow interruptions, multiple care transitions and other routine challenges that make prioritizing the safe care of critically ill and injured children even more important.


Safety for patients of all ages remains a priority and should include best practices for weight-dependent medication dosing and the need for appropriate equipment and training. The statement describes the importance of leaders adopting policies that emphasize patient safety and making sure emergency departments have trained personnel, supplies and equipment considered critical for managing pediatric emergencies.


“This policy lays out the steps that emergency departments can take to lessen the risk of medical errors and provide safe care for children of all ages,” said Madeline M. Joseph, MD, FAAP, FACEP, lead author of the joint statement. “This includes keeping medicines and equipment on hand that are appropriate for children. It also means listening and engaging families in decisions about child’s care.”


ENA, AAP and ACEP also call for identifying language and cultural barriers in the emergency care setting. Research has shown that patients with language, culture and socioeconomic challenges are disproportionately at risk of experiencing preventable adverse events in the health care system.


Emergency departments also need to be prepared for treating children with mental health care needs, especially during crises such as the COVID pandemic, the technical report notes.


“Children are not little adults,” Dr. Joseph said. “There are many ways we can improve safety for all patients who are seen in an emergency setting. It will take time and teamwork.”



American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.

AAP Media Contact
Lisa Black
Media Relations Manager


American College of Emergency Physicians

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education, and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million people they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and www.emergencyphysicians.org.

ACEP Media Contact
Steve Arnoff

The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.

ENA Media Contact

Morgan Wietecha

Media Relations Strategist