INTRODUCTION: Pediatric emergency mass critical care during disasters requires modifications to standard healthcare operations. Modification of standards for pediatric emergency mass critical care should include incorporation of family-centered care principles. Family-centered care, which is an integral aspect of current pediatric practice, encourages active participation of the child's family in medical care delivery. While family-centered care should be practical in most disasters, whether we can operationalize it in pediatric emergency mass critical care is unknown. However, every effort to adhere to the principles should be made. This manuscript addresses some of the basic tensions that exist between creating efficient disaster-related standards and offering family-centered care by augmenting the concepts outlined elsewhere in the supplement with practical suggestions on incorporating family-centered care. In addition, this manuscript demonstrates how family-centered care benefits not only children and families, but also the staff providing care to pediatric patients in disasters. METHODS: In May 2008, the Task Force for Mass Critical Care published guidance on provision of mass critical care to adults. Acknowledging that the critical care needs of children during disasters were unaddressed by this effort, a 17-member Steering Committee, assembled by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education with guidance from members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, convened in April 2009 to determine priority topic areas for pediatric emergency mass critical care recommendations.Steering Committee members established subgroups by topic area and performed literature reviews of MEDLINE and Ovid databases. The Steering Committee produced draft outlines through consensus-based study of the literature and convened October 6-7, 2009, in New York, NY, to review and revise each outline. Eight draft documents were subsequently developed from the revised outlines as well as through searches of MEDLINE updated through March 2010.The Pediatric Emergency Mass Critical Care Task Force, composed of 36 experts from diverse public health, medical, and disaster response fields, convened in Atlanta, GA, on March 29-30, 2010. Feedback on each manuscript was compiled and the Steering Committee revised each document to reflect expert input in addition to the most current medical literature. TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS: This paper offers a list of practical suggestions for incorporating family-centered care principles into each of the following healthcare settings during a disaster, including a pediatric emergency mass critical care event: emergency medical services transport, emergency departments, pediatric intensive care units, general pediatric wards, and alternative sites. Disaster and pediatric emergency mass critical care responses must incorporate family-centered care principles to the extent possible in a variety of healthcare settings.