R Baby Advocates for Better Pediatric Emergency Care


Show your support for:

  • Improved Pediatric Emergency care
    across the U.S.
  • Increased training for general ED
    doctors in pediatrics.
  • Mandatory pediatric supplies and
    equipment in all EDs.
  • A new, clear definition of a pediatric
    emergency room for the best specialized care.

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All ERs are not created equal. Your closest Emergency Room is usually best for extremely time-sensitive cases. Your closest Pediatric Emergency Room should be best to care for babies and children since the staff has most likely been trained specifically in pediatrics for a much longer time period than general practitioners. But did you know that there is NO uniform definition or standard in the United States for separate, designated pediatric emergency care units?

Current law provides a vague definition of a pediatric area within the Emergency Department at all hospitals including those that are licensed as “children's hospitals.” There are different levels of service: one hospital may put up a sign with their existing ER staff and equipment, while another hospital may have 24/7 pediatric emergency physicians who have three additional years of training in infant care, equipment usage and medicinal prescription.

R Baby has been advocating to provide parents with better transparency regarding the differences between Emergency Rooms, particularly Pediatric Emergency Rooms. We believe parents have the right to know how to make better-informed decisions about which hospitals to take their children to. They should know, for instance, which hospitals have designated separate pediatric emergency areas and what are their staff’s credentials. These details could mean the difference between life and death.

We have secured bipartisan support for S2009, a bill to create a "Pediatric Registry" in New Jersey. Senator Joseph Vitale (D-19) and Diane Allen (R-7) are sponsors of the measure which recently passed through the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on December 6th, 2010 and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration. This is one step in R Baby’s mission to ensure that every Emergency Room in the U.S. can properly diagnose and either treat or transfer a baby for the best care.

Additionally, this year, the New Jersey Council of Children's Hospitals gathered a cross-functional team of medical experts to create newly-formed guidelines of what the definition of a Pediatric Emergency Room should be. Similar to trauma centers, they are also suggesting dividing them into different levels based on the service provided. R Baby fully supports these GUIDELINES FOR CARE OF CHILDREN IN PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS and seeks to have these accepted and regulated in New Jersey as well as to spread these guidelines to as many states as we can in the coming year.

Here is an excerpt from the guidelines:

"Only a hospital that meets the standards referenced below can use the term, a Pediatric Emergency Department, or any similar term or terms in advertising or marketing materials or may in any way hold itself out to the public as providing services of the type offered by Levels I and II centers."

The guidelines continue with specific standards of staffing including sub-specialty availability, hours of operation, supplies on hand, and other important distinctions of what it takes to properly care for children and babies versus adults in emergency settings. We have learned that babies are not miniature adults. Their medical needs are different and therefore these guidelines are critical in preparing for the best care for all of our future families.