Critical care treatment is typically best provided in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Depending on the illness/injury that occurs, treatment may begin in an Emergency Department, but this is mainly done to diagnosis the problem and stabilize any life-threatening conditions. All Emergency Departments can accept both children and adults; however, the Emergency Departments found in a pediatric/children's hospital focus primarily on children.
After the Emergency Department has managed any life-threatening illnesses/injuries, if critical care treatment is required, the child will be transferred to an ICU. Ideally, children will move to a Pediatric ICU. If it is a children's hospital, there may be two types of ICU's...a PICU (Pediatric ICU) and a CICU (Cardiac ICU). Because children with heart problems require very specialized care, a separate unit for cardiac care has been created in many children's hospitals where the nurses and doctors have received additional, specialized training in this area. If not heart condition is present, the PICU will be the best place for your child.
If your child is less than a week old or born prematurely, the NICU (Neonatal ICU) may be the best place for him/her.