Most pediatricians, as well as nonmedical professionals who give educational and other services to children, are keenly aware of the importance of early detection of childhood emotional disturbances. They try to refer such cases to psychiatric facilities before the child's problems are interfering with his social and intellectual development and before they reach the proportion of a crisis situation jeopardizing the family equilibrium. In many instances, however, an early referral is never carried out, and the child's disturbance mounts to a psychiatric emergency often involving the whole family. The increasing number of such emergencies prompting immediate medical attention has highlighted the need for investigations of psychiatric emergencies in children, both from the standpoint of diagnosis and effective intervention.
A retrospective and follow-up study of 170 children with psychiatric emergencies, in the age group 4 to 17 years, has recently been reported from University Hospitals in Cleveland.1 The demographic and