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Children's Services

Emergency Services

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Emergency Department Contact Information

  • Communication Center for Referring Providers and Community Physicians: 206-987-8899 or, toll-free, 866-987-8899 
  • Clinical Fax: 206-987-3945
  • Administrative Offices Phone: 206-987-3863
  • Administrative Only Fax: 206-729-3070 (This number is only monitored during business hours – not monitored on evenings, nights and weekends.)

About the Emergency Department

Seattle Children’s Emergency Department (ED) is staffed 24 hours per day, every day. We see up to 40,000 children each year. About one half of all children admitted to Children’s are admitted through the ED.

Our new ED increases capacity, expands the size of patient rooms and arranges the rooms around central work stations, improving staff visibility, teamwork and communication.

There is always an attending physician in the ED. During evenings and busy seasons, there may be as many as six attending physicians on duty in the ED.

Children’s is a teaching hospital and physicians in training see many patients. However, all patients are seen by and treatment plans are formulated in conjunction with an attending physician.

Fast Track

We also staff a section of the ED called “Fast Track.” Fast Track is used to expedite the care of children with lower-acuity conditions. All patients are seen by a triage nurse prior to being assigned to the Fast Track team. Fast Track physicians are attending-level general pediatricians who also have experience working in the ED.

New model of care

We want to provide medical attention as soon as families arrive. A registered nurse will quickly assess your patient’s condition upon arrival. Patients and families will be shown to a room right away in all but the busiest circumstances. During our busiest hours, a roving early initiation team can order tests and provide interventions and medication as needed if the primary care team is not immediately available to begin diagnosis and treatment. It is our goal to have most of our patients assessed by a licensed medical provider as soon as possible.

Communication with referring providers

We want to provide direct contact for you when you have questions and concerns about accessing and navigating our ED services. To do this, we offer:

  • Improved electronic medical records (EMR) and process to ensure consistent communication
  • Pre-arrival communication center, outlined below
  • Discharge summary (PDF) 

How to Access the Emergency Department and What to Expect

Call 206-987-8899 or, toll-free, 866-987-8899

An experienced ED nurse will answer your call and will be able to document your patient's information. This information will become a permanent part of your patient's chart and will be available to ED care team members prior to and on your patient's arrival. Children’s ED attending physicians are always available for consultation if necessary.

When you call, please provide us with:

  1. Your patient's name
  2. Age or date of birth
  3. A brief history of present illness and condition
  4. Potential isolation issues (respiratory or other)
  5. Any specific issues that you would like to have addressed during your patient's ED visit
  6. A number where we may reach you to update you on your patient's condition and to collaborate on a follow-up plan
  7. If you would like to attend on your patient if he or she is admitted to the hospital, or if you would like your patient to be placed under the care of one of our house attending physicians

The nurse will then ask for your patient's address and insurance information, expediting the process upon their arrival. 

Children with severe, multi-system trauma or head injury with significant concern for an acute intracranial hemorrhage will be referred to the ED at Harborview Medical Center at 206-731-3074.

Children’s ED can assist in making decisions about appropriate transport options. Patients with significant respiratory symptoms, altered mental status or other potentially unstable conditions should be transferred in an ALS (Advanced Life Support ambulance) medical environment.

Families are encouraged to first contact their primary care provider for healthcare advice. Calls from patients and their families are welcomed for questions specifically related to a recent ED visit.

Calls from all other families are referred to Children’s Resource Line, which can be reached at 206-987-2500 or, toll-free, 866-987-2500.

What Your Patient Should Bring

  • A guardian or parent
  • Immunization history, allergies and current medications
  • Lab tests
  • Past medical conditions and procedures
  • Clinic notes
  • Hard copies or digital files of any imaging studies from other facilities

NPO (Nil Per Os, Nothing by Mouth)

To ensure the timeliest and safest care for your patient, please re-emphasize that patients should remain NPO if any of the following apply:

  • If sedation for any painful or distressing procedure (laceration repair, possible fracture, foreign body removal) may be required
  • If any surgical procedure is possible (acute abdomen, intestinal obstruction, esophageal or airway foreign body)
  • Significant respiratory distress or critical illness 

What to Expect When Your Patient Arrives

Upon arrival, your patient will be seen by a registered nurse. The nurse assesses the patient’s condition before a medication intake coordinator (MIC) – the person who collects the patient’s medication history – shows the patient and family to a room. Involving the nurse and MIC at the start of the process reduces potential delays in beginning treatment. Full registration will take place in the room after the primary care team sees the patient, eliminating another possible delay.

We hope to be able to provide a multidisciplinary initial evaluation. The goal is for the team and the family to gather information and to develop and know the plan, putting it into action as early as possible, without having to repeat their story multiple times.

If a primary care team is not available immediately to see a patient, an “early initiation team” – consisting of a medical provider and a nurse – will work with patients for the first part of their visit. Based on a uniform set of clinical standards, the early initiation team will decide whether to begin tests or provide interventions or medications before handing off care to the primary care team.

Nurses will be assigned to support specific zones of rooms, allowing for better communication with patients and families as well as among the care team. The zones, along with an electronic tracking board, will ensure that a nurse or provider is available to meet the needs of your patient. 


Your patient may be seen by a pediatric, family practice or Emergency Medicine resident, and/or a pediatric Emergency Medicine fellow. All patients are seen by an ED attending physician.

ED services

Our staff strives to make the ED experience as pleasant as possible for patients and families. Additional services offered include:

  • Capability of providing on-site sedation for painful procedures
  • Private exam rooms offer access to a TV connected to GetWell Town, an interactive media system.
  • Social workers and child life specialists who work with children and families to make their stay less frightening
  • Snacks, coffee, and cold beverages are available for families.

Consults and specialty evaluations

After evaluation by an ED attending physician, consultation with Children’s specialty services is available as warranted. The ED attending has overall responsibility for determining and monitoring what services are required for your patient.

Learn more about the Emergency Department.

Care Gateway

Care Gateway is a portal to real-time clinical information about your patients at Seattle Children’s and to online referrals.


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