Any experience that a child perceives as threatening or detrimental and has long-term consequences for the child’s holistic health and welfare qualifies as trauma. Whether an experience is traumatic depends on the 3 E’s of trauma: the event, the experience of the event, and the effects. Traumatic events can affect an infant’s or child’s development and have lifelong repercussions. Because of the prevalence of pediatric trauma, trauma-informed care has become the standard of care. Nurses are perfectly positioned to lead trauma-informed care in the pediatric intensive care unit. This article explores the components of trauma-informed care and the application of this standard of care to children in the pediatric intensive care unit. The nurse providing trauma-informed care understands the impact of trauma on the child, the family, and the staff and responds by integrating knowledge about trauma into care, both individually and systemwide, seeking to actively avoid retraumatization. This article presents the 6 principles of trauma-informed care and 3 case examples illustrating the application of these principles in the pediatric intensive care unit. Additional resources are provided to equip critical care nurses to fully implement this standard of care for critically ill children.

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