We have all heard the saying, “Children are not just little adults.”


In fact, the specialty of pediatric emergency medicine was developed to address this belief. Many disease processes and conditions affect children uniquely, and emergency providers need to be familiar with the anatomic and physiologic changes that occur as an infant matures into adulthood.

Nationally, 20 to 25% of all emergency department visits involve patients under the age of 18 years and over 80% of ill or injured children are cared for outside of large, tertiary care children’s hospitals. Many emergency providers, if you gave them truth serum, would admit to fearing the critically ill infant or child presenting to their place of work as most children seek care for benign, self-limited illnesses, and the opportunity to maintain critical resuscitation skills solely on the basis of clinical exposure is rare. Coming soon from Scientific American isScientific American Pediatric Emergency Medicine, a complement to the previously published SA Emergency Medicine. Consisting of 17 reviews, this publication focuses on the emergency conditions unique to children and current diagnostic and management strategies designed to take the “fear” out of managing pediatric patients. Written by practicing pediatric and emergency physicians, it covers the gamut of pediatric illness, from the common (i.e., fever in the pediatric patient) to the uncommon (i.e., malrotation with midgut volvulus). If you have ever wondered, “How do I clear the cervical spine of a 2-year-old child involved in a motor vehicle collision?” or “What is the appropriate radiologic evaluation of a child with suspected child abuse?” then this text is for you.

Reviews covering procedures such as pediatric airway management and procedural sedation focus on the specific considerations unique to children and also where “adult” skills are transferrable. Clear, concise, and current, this is a valuable addition to the armamentarium of any provider who cares for the acutely ill child.



Scientific American Emergency Medicine (SAE) is a continuously updated online resource in emergency medicine, teaching principles and practice.

Written by Nathan W Mick, MD

Department of Emergency Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA