Pediatric Surge Crisis Response

Child using breathing device

Last updated March 3, 2023

A national shortage of pediatric beds as the result of a 19% decline in pediatric inpatient units over 10 years — coupled with a surge in pediatric cases due respiratory illnesses — has led to an unprecedented capacity crisis in pediatric care nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as of early November, more than three-quarters of the country’s pediatric inpatient beds were occupied. (And this number is likely an underestimate.)

Resources for all settings (hospital and prehospital)

Compiled by the Pediatric Pandemic Network (PPN), the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Innovation and Improvement Center, Gulf 7-Pediatric Disaster Network, Region V for Kids, and the Western Regional Alliance for Pediatric Emergency Medicine, this document includes:

  • surge response recommendations
  • resources for right now (e.g. clinical guidance on respiratory illnesses in children)
  • resources for pediatric preparedness (e.g. preparing for future crises and everyday emergencies)

The Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) now provides a website to respond to the pediatric surge in viral respiratory illnesses impacting hospital capacity. The website includes a link to the above resources.

Prehospital-specific resources and data

Compiled by the EMSC Innovation and Improvement Center, the EMSC Data Center, and the PPN, this document includes clinical guideline resources, respiratory education, and more for prehospital practitioners.

The Health Resources and Services Administration, in partnership with the PPN and EMSC Program, is also sharing data from the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) to provide a quantitative view of how the ongoing surge of respiratory illnesses among children is affecting prehospital system

Pediatric surge fact sheet: How did we get here?

Learn about the factors that have contributed to the pediatric respiratory surge crisis -- and how you can help.

Media coverage

Some key media coverage about the crisis.