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The doors of Boston Children’s Hospital are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to treat your injured child. Our patients range from very young children to adolescents and young adults. Some 50,000 young people come through the Boston Children's Emergency Department each year — with traumas ranging from bone fractures to burns to abdominal or chest injuries.

About 20 percent of the cases our doctors see are injury-related, from minor to severe. Since the day Boston Children's Hospital opened its doors in 1869 — when the first patient was treated for a broken wrist — treating childhood injuries has remained a core part of our hospital's care.

Our expertise

Boston Children's is one of only a few hospitals in the United States to earn a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center verification from the American College of Surgeons — indicating that we provide the highest level of pediatric injury care. We rank among the top 10 hospitals in the nation for the volume of injured children treated. Each year, we care for twice as many injured kids as all other Boston hospitals combined.

Our Critical Care Transport Team is the only CAMTS-certified team in New England — and our Critical Care Transport Ambulance is known as an "ICU on wheels."

At Boston Children's Hospital, we also know that treating pediatric trauma is different from treating adults, and requires special experience and skill. One the many strengths of our hospital is the multidisciplinary pediatric expertise that comes together for our patients' care — physicians, nurses, social work professionals, and others — all highly experienced in serving the special needs of injured children and their families.

Because trauma cases are often complex, our multidisciplinary teams of medical and surgical doctors from emergency medicine, neurosurgery, orthopedics, and other specialties coordinate with the Trauma Center team as needed, to provide injured kids with the very best care.

Our mission

Our comprehensive Trauma Center is guided by the following seven-fold mission:

  • deliver the best patient care available
  • enhance family satisfaction, education, and resources
  • promote research, education, and prevention in pediatric trauma
  • accept all referrals of injured children through 21 years of age
  • provide educational opportunities for nurses, pre-hospital providers, and physicians on pediatric trauma and related issues
  • collaborate with the hospital, EMS, and community outreach in injury prevention programs, health fairs, and other community prevention-related activities
  • provide patient follow-up for referring institutions on- and off-site

With our transport team and expert care, Boston Children's Hospital brings the same level of excellence to trauma care that we bring to all our specialties and research fields. As with many of our clinical practice areas, our approach takes place along a continuum of education, prevention, access, care, and improvement.

Our involvement with traumatic injury begins long before the arrival of critical care personnel on the scene. It starts with an ongoing initiative to teach parents and kids the best ways to prevent injury — and continues with leading-edge research until patients have achieved their maximum long-term recovery.

Our goals

  • provide the most advanced pediatric trauma care available anywhere
  • provide safe transportation for critically ill children
  • prevent childhood injuries through our Injury Prevention Program
  • provide educational programs to physicians, nurses, emergency response personnel, radiology technologists, and allied health professionals throughout Massachusetts on the proper care and treatment for children who have been injured
  • evaluate and treat children who've suffered a traumatic brain injury through our Brain Injury Center

Our programs

Trauma Outreach Program

Boston Children's Trauma Outreach Program serves as a link between our hospital and the health care community. We provide comprehensive, timely follow-up on trauma admissions to referring facilities and patient care providers (PCPs).

The program also dispenses educational materials, both locally and regionally. This resource gives referrers the opportunity to increase their knowledge of current evidence-based practice when caring for pediatric trauma patients.

Child Passenger Safety Program

From "seat check" events in our local communities ... to a hospital-wide Car Seat Program ... to our nurses' assessments of families' car seat needs ... to teaming up with police, firefighters, and car seat manufacturers — Boston Children's is dedicated to making sure that your little passengers are safe in the family car!

Our Social Work Department

At Boston Children's, we understand that hospitalization, illness, or traumatic injury is a stressful experience. Our clinical social workers work closely with the Trauma Center team to help our patients and their families deal with the broad range of psychosocial issues and stresses related to coping with illness and maintaining health.

Trauma research at Boston Children's: new frontiers in injury treatment and prevention

At Boston Children's Hospital, our Trauma Center and research labs hospital-wide are actively involved in studying the causes of — and best treatments for — childhood injury.

Areas of our research include:

  • examining how best to care for children with a ruptured spleen
  • identifying possible long-term problems for infants who've suffered an injury
  • analyzing differences in how injured children are cared for in hospitals around New England and the nation, to help determine and disseminate best practices
  • collaborating with other hospitals to determine the long-term problems children face after suffering a broken pelvis
  • identifying children and families who are at risk for developing emotional problems or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) after injury
  • identifying what blood tests and x-rays are necessary during emergency care to ensure patient safety and maximize Emergency Department efficiency

To support the team's research efforts, Boston Children's maintains a data registry of more than 12,000 injured patients. This information is also used to identify the ways in which children are being hurt — and to better direct our efforts to prevent injuries among New England's children.