The goals of antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) are to optimize antimicrobial prescribing habits in order to improve patient outcomes, reduce antimicrobial resistance, and reduce hospital costs. Multiple society-endorsed guidelines and government policies reinforce the importance of ASP implementation. Effective antimicrobial stewardship can impact unique patients, hospitals, and societal antibiotic-resistance burden. The role and subsequent success of these programs has largely been reported in the adult population. Pediatric and neonatal intensive care units present unique challenges for traditional antimicrobial stewardship approaches. The purpose of this review article is to explore the challenges of appropriate antibiotic use in the pediatric and neonatal intensive care units and to summarize strategies ASPs can use to overcome these challenges. These problems include non-specific disease presentations, limited evidence for definitive treatment durations in many pediatric infections, fewer pediatric-trained infectious disease physicians, and applicability of intensive laboratory obtainment, collection, and interpretation. Additionally, many ASP implementation studies evaluating the efficacy of ASPs exclude the PICU and NICU. Areas of focus for pediatric ASPs should likely include appropriate antibiotic initiation, appropriate antibiotic duration, and appropriate antibiotic de-escalation.

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