HelicopterFor more than 30 years, the St. Louis Children’s Hospital critical care transport team has provided patients with a direct route to advanced and highly specialized care, including a Level 1 pediatric trauma center. With a changing health care landscape, the team has been meeting the customer service and clinical expertise needs of pediatric, neonate and maternal-fetal patients, providing them with access to care at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) and Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJH).

The team’s mission is to provide a superior patient experience by providing safe and effective care to each patient and family on every transport. The team’s practice is based on advanced patient care practices established through innovation, research and education.


Each dedicated transport team consists of two registered nurses, a paramedic and, when needed, a pilot available 24/7. The teams transport patients by specially equipped Mobile Intensive Care Units (MICUs) operated by SLCH; KidsFlight 1 and 2, EC145 helicopters; and KidsFlight 3, a Pilatus12 fixed-wing aircraft. Air operations are provided via dedicated aircrafts operated by Air Methods in partnership with SLCH.

Completing more than 2,500 trips each year, the team’s primary response area includes hospitals in Missouri and Illinois but also provides services across the United States and Canada.

The three transport teams are based in two locations: two teams at SLCH, and one at Parkland Health Center in Farmington, Mo. These two locations allow the team to focus on a current priority, which is to be as responsive to its patients as possible by improving response times to outside hospitals.

As a dedicated transport team, care is provided to both neonatal and pediatric patients up to age 18 and adult maternal fetal transports. The team is equipped to deliver all levels of advanced medical care including nitric oxide delivery, high-frequency mechanical ventilation, as well as the transport of patients on ECMO.

During the last several years, transport services has expanded its offerings to include:

  • Maternal Fetal Transport Service, offered in partnership with BJH, for pregnant women requiring specialized transport and immediate access to care. During these transports, the team consists of a high-risk obstetrical nurse, a neonate-trained nurse in the event of imminent delivery, and a paramedic.
  • Trauma Early Launch, a program through which EMS agencies in the hospital’s Missouri and Illinois service areas have the option of requesting a pediatric specialty care team via helicopter to the community hospital from which a child is being transported. The transport team nurses and paramedic are able to assist with stabilizing the patient and quickly transporting them to SLCH.


Transport team members bring the same elite medical care currently delivered within Children’s Hospital to referring facilities when they arrive at the patient’s bedside. Through research projects, the processes and protocols of the transport team are continually updated and improved to meet these gold standards. This also requires continued education through several means including simulation scenarios taught by the medical directors and fellows from the NICU and PICU.

The team’s affiliation with Washington University School of Medicine, one of the top research facilities in the world, allows for participation in research and evidence-based practice projects. This work is instrumental to improving the medical care delivered to the patients being transported, as well as becoming the benchmark for gold standards of pediatric and neonatal patient care.

To learn more about SLCH critical care transport team, call Children’s Direct at 800.678.HELP (4357).