1. Columbus Children's Hospital: Although the emergency department waiting area is comfortable -- stocked with toys, books, and even extra clothing for children -- families don't spend a lot of time there. Even patients with the least severe problems wait less than 45 minutes to be seen by a doctor -- about half that of typical pediatric ERs -- and if a child needs to be admitted, he'll be in his room within 40 minutes, the shortest time in our survey.
2. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: A roomier, 75-bed emergency department opened in 2005, reducing crowding and offering three decontamination quarters to safeguard patients in the event of a bio-terrorism attack.
3. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: Nurses automatically contact the family or guardians of all patients treated in the emergency department to check on their health, answer questions, and review discharge instructions.
4. Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics, Kansas City: It conducts disaster drills twice a month -- the best of our survey -- and has found that music and aromatherapy can help reduce stress in the waiting room.
5. The Children's Hospital, Denver: This facility offers the first pediatric emergency department in the country to immediately treat the pain of a broken leg by routinely performing nerve blocks.
Runners-Up: 6. The Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville; 7. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta; 8. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; 9. Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital in Charleston; and 10. Miami Children's Hospital