The paradigm is shifting from separating family members from their children during resuscitation to one of patient- and family-centered care. However, widespread acceptance is still lacking.


To measure attitudes, behaviors, and experiences of family members of pediatric patients during the resuscitation phase of trauma care, including family members who were present and those who were not.


An observational mixed-methods study using structured interviews and focus groups was conducted at 3 level 1 pediatric trauma centers. Family members of children who met trauma team activation criteria (N = 126; 99 present, 27 not present) were interviewed; 25 also participated in focus groups.


Mean attitude scores indicated a positive attitude about being present during the resuscitation phase of trauma care (3.65; SD, 0.37) or wanting to be present (3.2; SD, 0.60). Families present reported providing emotional support (94%) for their child and health care information (92%) to the medical team. Being present allowed them to advocate for their child, understand their child’s condition, and provide comfort. Families in both groups felt strongly that the choice was their right but was contingent upon their bedside behavior.


Study findings demonstrated compelling family benefits for presence during pediatric trauma care. This study is one of the first to report on family members who were not present. The practice of family presence should be made a priority at pediatric trauma centers.

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