New guidance on emergency settings care for children

New guidance from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) sets out minimum standards for the care and treatment of children and young people in emergency care settings. The guidance – an updated version of the ‘red book’ – is aimed at healthcare professionals, providers, service planners and commissioners. The standards are designed to improve the experience and outcomes of children and young people who require urgent and emergency care. In doing so they provide a valuable insight into the real life consequences of childhood injury, while also highlighting the importance of information and prevention.

The guidance emphasises the importance of injury prevention and says:

“Injuries are the most common cause of death and preventable morbidity in the population below the age of approximately 30 years. Injury prevention is one of the least well researched, and underdeveloped elements of children’s services. Knowledge of the epidemiology of injury is critical to prevention. Information about accidents in the local area should be available from the emergency department database, and can be used to inform local government policy, the media, and the police, within the limits of patient confidentiality.”

Standards for children

The complete list of standards for children and young people in emergency care settings includes key steps and guidance such as:

  • Making sure that all urgent care attendances in children and young people are notified to the primary care team – ideally both GP and health visitor/school nurse
  • Setting out safeguarding roles, and lead responsibilities
  • Having systems in place to identify frequent attenders
  • Appointing a liaison health worker to improve access to information, education and clinical expertise
  • Ensuring that injury surveillance data is collected and accessible
  • Being aware of services available locally for children to help avoid admissions

There is also information on the death of a child, recognising that the sudden and unexpected death of a child or young person can have a devastating effect on the family and is challenging for all involved.

Download the standards

Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings can be downloaded below: 

Related links

The physical reality and experience of childhood injury, including factors causing additional distress such as fear of an unfamiliar environment and people, is highlighted in the College of Emergency Medicine’s Guidelines for the management of pain in children.

Download the Guidelines from the :

Updated June 2012