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Pediatric Intensive Care

At Providence, our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) offers your child the highest level of medical care and monitoring for injuries, illness and other critical medical conditions.  

We specialize in the care of children who are in critical or unstable condition due to a serious accident, illness or other medical issue. If your child is in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Providence, you can rest assured they are getting the very best care. Our family-centered approach includes experts who work in partnership with you to care for your child. 

Parents are encouraged to stay when their child is in our PICU and have 24/7 access to our locked and secured units. We also realize not every parent is able to visit daily and encourage you to let us know how we can help you and your family throughout your child’s stay. 

When children are in unstable or critical condition, we provide many types of care in the Pediatric ICU, including:  

  • Medical intensive care
  • Neurological care
  • Observation and care for children with brain injury
  • Respiratory care, including supervision of children on ventilators
  • Surgical intensive care following heart, lung and neurological procedures
  • Trauma care, following accidents or injuries 

Our doctors and nurses also provide care for children who are not in critical condition but require specialized monitoring. In some cases, your child may be admitted to the Pediatric ICU during or after certain outpatient procedures. 


At first, the PICU may seem overwhelming and scary for children and it can be stressful for parents too. We understand. A basic understanding of the equipment can help you feel better prepared to help your child recover. 

Almost all kids in the PICU will have an IV to deliver fluids and medications. IVs are inserted in the hands, arms, feet, legs or even scalp with a small needle. The needle is removed, leaving just the soft plastic tube.

Many kids in the PICU are attached to monitors to track a child’s heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen levels and blood pressure. Some of these monitors have blinking lights and alarms.

We help kids who need extra help breathing with an oxygen face mask or tubing in the nose, or by using a ventilator. Different types of ventilators are used in a variety of situations, but they all help a child breathe. If a ventilator is needed, we will make sure your child is as comfortable as possible while the breathing tube is in place.

Your doctor may order tests to get more information about your child’s condition, such as X-rays, CT and MRI scans.

Please be assured – we do our best to keep your child calm and comfortable during their stay with us.  

How long will my child stay in the Pediatric ICU?  

Our patients may stay with us for a day, week or longer, depending on their condition. Sometimes, as their condition improves, they are transferred to other departments in the hospital. If you ever have questions about your child’s care, condition or length of stay, please talk with your nurse or doctor.

When your child is a patient in the Pediatric ICU, many highly trained specialists will care for them. Depending on your child’s specific issue and medical condition, your child’s care team may include: 

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Chaplain
  • Child life specialists to help your child cope with illness, injury, disability
  • Clinical pharmacists
  • Dietitians
  • Doctors
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Pediatric intensivists, who are specially trained to monitor and care for children in critical condition
  • Physical therapists 
  • Residents
  • Respiratory therapists 
  • Social workers to help you navigate insurance issues, at-home care, and emotional issues
  • Speech therapists