Ensuring Optimal Anesthetic Care for Children: A Call to Action

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Ensuring safe, effective, and high-quality care for children of all ages is paramount to pediatric anesthesiologists and to leaders and members of the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia. To this end, recent studies provide important data that inform the planning and implementation of ideal children’s perioperative services. For instance, data have demonstrated that children anesthetized in pediatric settings by pediatric anesthesiology specialists or by those who provide care to a greater number of children experience fewer adverse events.1–3 With such data in mind, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has defined criteria to achieve optimal pediatric perioperative care. ACS criteria include a specific requirement that a specially trained pediatric anesthesiologist be available to provide care for all young children.4 Although this criterion is deemed optimal, it is widely recognized that a large number of facilities will remain unable to meet this benchmark, leaving many children to undergo surgery in less than ideal conditions. With the implementation of the ACS criteria for pediatric hospitals, pediatric anesthesiologists will need to implement novel approaches to expand the needed expertise to include a more diverse geographical location.
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