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Colorado Pediatric Preparedness
for the Emergency Room

Materials below

  • About 

  • Development partners

  • Why COPPER was developed

  • How to participate

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What is COPPER?

Colorado Pediatric Preparedness for the Emergency Room (COPPER) is a voluntary pediatric readiness recognition program for Colorado emergency departments. The program has two levels of recognition: Pediatric Prepared and Pediatric Advanced. The main difference between the two levels is the presence of a physician Pediatric Emergency Care Coordinator (PECC), which is required for Pediatric Advanced recognition but not for Pediatric Prepared. COPPER was developed by EMS for Children Colorado in collaboration with several statewide partners. The program strives to help emergency departments achieve a higher level of pediatric readiness by providing key resources, support, and education.


To help Colorado emergency departments ensure the delivery of safe, competent, and effective pediatric care by providing resources, support, guidance, and site verification.


All Colorado emergency departments will have the capability to provide safe, competent, and effective pediatric emergency care.



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Who developed

COPPER was developed by EMS for Children Colorado in collaboration with key partners from the following organizations:

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Why did we develop COPPER?

  • ​69.4% of children seeking emergency care are cared for in emergency departments (EDs) that see fewer than 15 pediatric patients per day.

  • The 2013 National Pediatric Readiness Assessment results affirmed the importance of pediatric readiness recognition programs. Hospitals recognized as being pediatric ready scored 22-24 points higher on the assessment.

  • Presentation to hospitals with a high pediatric readiness score is associated with decreased mortality.

  • Approximately half of EDs lack a physician or nurse PECC. The presence of a PECC is strongly correlated with improved pediatric readiness.

  • 55% of EDs report the absence of a quality improvement (QI) plan in which they address pediatric care. Among those with a QI plan, 41.7% lack specific pediatric quality indicators.​

  • In the absence of participation in a pediatric verification program, trauma center status is not predictive of higher pediatric readiness scores.​

  • Approximately half of hospitals report lacking disaster plans that include specific care needs for children.

  • Children can’t decide their circumstances or where they live. They cannot influence how the emergency medical system works when they are ill or injured... but, TOGETHER, WE CAN.​

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  1. Remick, K., Gausche-Hill, M., Joseph, M. M., Brown, K., Snow, S. K., Wright, J. L., ... & EMERGENCY NURSES ASSOCIATION Pediatric      Committee. (2018). Pediatric readiness in the emergency department. Pediatrics, 142(5).

  2. Ames, S. G., Davis, B. S., Marin, J. R., Fink, E. L., Olson, L. M., Gausche-Hill, M., & Kahn, J. M. (2019). Emergency department pediatric readiness and mortality in critically ill children. Pediatrics, 144(3), e20190568.

How to participate?

If you're an interested emergency department, you will soon be able to apply for COPPER recognition and have access to expert pediatric resources to help support pediatric focused education, quality improvement, policy development, and best practices at your home institution. After we complete the pilot phase in 2021, all EDs will be able to apply for recognition by following these steps:


If your hospital is interested in obtaining COPPER recognition, we recommend using the COPPER checklist to perform an initial self assessment. Use the results of the self assessment to help you decide the level of recognition you want to apply for and to identify the gaps that you will need to address to meet the criteria for that level of recognition.



Use the resources available from the COPPER program and the national EMS for Children pediatric readiness toolkit to help your hospital address the gaps identified in step 1. If you have questions or would like assistance addressing gaps, please feel free to contact the EMS for Children Colorado program manager using the information provided at the bottom of this page. 

Submit the online COPPER application, letter of commitment and checklist here.


A representative of the COPPER program will contact you to schedule a consultative visit.


COPPER team members will conduct an in-person or virtual consultative visit to review various aspects of your ED’s pediatric readiness.


COPPER team members will follow up with your ED to award COPPER recognition or to provide recommendations for improvement.

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