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Critical Care

When it comes to pediatric emergency services in the Bay Area, there's no substitute for a specialty children's hospital. Since young patients are at greater risk for serious breathing problems, less tolerant of blood loss, and more vulnerable to head injury, they require distinct tests and equipment for their smaller bodies. The younger the child, the smaller the margin for error, and that is where UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals makes all the difference. With a dedicated team of experts who work solely with children, we're the leading pediatric emergency service provider in Northern California.

Pediatric Critical Care services at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals include state-of-the-art, compassionate care for critically ill children of every age, from premature infants to young adults. Neonatologists (specialists in newborn care) and pediatric critical care specialists are in-house at our various critical care units 24-7, leading a team of experts in a full range of medical and surgical specialties.

Our patients have access to the latest intensive care technologies, including multiple modes of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), ventilation and dialysis. In our certified Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, we provide all levels of newborn intensive care. We have one of the most comprehensive neonatal and pediatric heart programs in the country and a dedicated nursery for newborns at risk for neurological injury. More than 2,000 children are admitted annually to our intensive care units and nurseries.

Our emergency facilities are staffed with board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialists who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our Oakland campus holds an Emergency Medicine Services for Children (EMS-C) designation and approval from the State of California to function as a Pediatric Critical Care Center (PCCC), a distinction which marks us as a center of excellence in all areas of pediatric care, from emergency and intensive care through rehabilitation services. We're the only PCCC in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Our services (8)


LIFE Clinic

LIFE Clinic

1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158

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Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery

Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery

San Francisco / Oakland

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Neuro-Intensive Care Nursery (NICN)

Neuro-Intensive Care Nursery (NICN)

San Francisco / Oakland

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Neonatal Neurology Follow-Up Clinic

Neonatal Neurology Follow-Up Clinic

San Francisco / Oakland

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Neonatal Pulmonary Intensive Care Unit

Neonatal Pulmonary Intensive Care Unit

San Francisco / Oakland

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NICU Follow-Up Clinic

NICU Follow-Up Clinic

San Francisco / Oakland / Eureka / Fremont / Greenbrae / Modesto / Santa...

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Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

San Francisco / Oakland

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Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

San Francisco / Oakland

Support services

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Child Life

Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.


Gentle Hands Program

We help parents of medically fragile infants bond with their babies via special techniques for soothing, holding and bathing their child. Learn more.

Family Amenities

Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.


Social Services

Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.


Activity Rooms

Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.


Art Therapy

Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.


Music Therapy Program

Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.


School Program

Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.


School Re-Entry Program

We help kids return to school after hospitalization by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.


Individual Playtime & Instruction

If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

Family Resource Center

We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.


Parent Support Program

Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.


Patient Relations

Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.


Spiritual Care

Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.


International Services

If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

Awards & recognition

  • Top 10 in the nation for neonatology

  • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

Saving future lives

500+ UCSF investigators are researching cures for hundreds of childhood and adult diseases.