Provision of adequate energy intake to critically ill children is associated with improved prognosis, but resting energy expenditure (REE) is rarely determined by indirect calorimetry (IC) due to practical constraints. Some studies have tested the validity of various predictive equations that are routinely used for this purpose, but no systematic evaluation has been made. Therefore, we performed a systematic review of the literature to assess predictive equations of REE in critically ill children. We systematically searched the literature for eligible studies, and then we extracted data and assigned a quality grade to each article according to guidelines of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Accuracy was defined as the percentage of predicted REE values to fall within ±10% or ±15% of the measured energy expenditure (MEE) values, computed based on individual participant data. Of the 993 identified studies, 22 studies testing 21 equations using 2326 IC measurements in 1102 children were included in this review. Only 6 equations were evaluated by at least 3 studies in critically ill children. No equation predicted REE within ±10% of MEE in >50% of observations. The Harris–Benedict equation overestimated REE in two‐thirds of patients, whereas the Schofield equations and Talbot tables predicted REE within ±15% of MEE in approximately 50% of observations. In summary, the Schofield equations and Talbot tables were the least inaccurate of the predictive equations. We conclude that a new validated indirect calorimeter is urgently needed in the critically ill pediatric population.)