Emergency Transport Program

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia's Emergency Transport Program provides expert, specialized care and safe, fast transport of critically ill or injured infants and children.

The transport service operates 24 hours a day, with a minimum of four to five transport teams scheduled daily. We transport patients of all ages with a wide variety of serious medical and surgical issues, including respiratory problems, infectious diseases, neurologic issues, cardiac problems and trauma. We operate as a mobile intensive care unit, providing specialized acute care while your child is en route between facilities.

Our team

Our core team consists of nurses, critical care paramedics, respiratory therapists, communication specialists and financial counselors. Additional team members can include physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and pilots.

Three or more teams of transport specialists are scheduled each day. They are prepared to transport critically ill or injured children at any time.

How to request a transport

Our experienced pediatric transport team is just one call away. To request a transport from your facility to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, referring physicians or hospital staff can call 800-590-2160 to speak with one of our communication specialists.

If you are located within CHOP and would like to arrange a transport, dial extension 4-2160.

Find additional instructions about the information we’ll need from you.

Parents, please note that we are not licensed as a "911" provider. If you have an ill or seriously injured child, call "911" for transport to the nearest hospital for initial treatment and stabilization.

Transport process

We use several modes of transportation to transport patients to CHOP, including ground transport (ambulance), rotor wing (helicopter) and fixed wing (plane).

The mode of transport is determined by several factors, including the severity of your child’s condition (patient acuity), and distance from outlying facility.
While most transports are for patients coming into Children’s Hospital, some are outgoing transport of medically complex patients to other facilities.

The transport team’s communications center is staffed by communication specialists who collect patient demographics for all incoming and outgoing transports. The specialists manage all ED referrals from primary care physicians, and also manage:

  • Code Blue calls
  • Trauma alerts
  • Nonpatient emergencies
  • Disaster alerts
  • ED medical emergencies

What to expect during transport

A parent is welcome to travel with their child whenever possible.

For air transports, the decision is up to the pilot. The severity of your child’s condition, the number of available seats, and the weight of the aircraft and passengers factor into this decision. Ground transports allow for more flexibility.

When your child arrives at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), they will be brought to our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU), Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), Emergency Department, or an appropriate inpatient unit where they can receive the highly specialized care they need.