Pressure ulcers in the pediatric patient

Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 05/16/2012

Bernabe KQ – Pediatric pressure ulcers are a serious and largely preventable condition. Increased awareness, and accurate and timely assessment to recognize at–risk children, can lead to pressure ulcer prevention. More studies are needed to better define risk factors and effective prevention of pediatric pressure ulcers.


  • In contrast to adult literature, data for pressure ulcers in children is limited. Incidence and prevalence of this skin integrity issue in pediatric hospitals is still widely unknown, perhaps because increased awareness and prevention of the phenomenon have been slow to develop.
  • Moreover, identification of at-risk patients is lacking, and current guidelines and interventions to prevent skin breakdown are those that have been adapted from adult care and are not supported by evidence-based data in children.


  • Awareness and prevention of pressure ulcers in the pediatric acute care setting are becoming a priority.
  • In 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services listed certain hospital acquired conditions for which facilities would no longer be additionally reimbursed.
  • A pressure ulcer, stage III or higher, is included in that list and referred to as a ‘never event’ as it is a condition that could be reasonably prevented by use of evidence-based guidelines.

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