Children are not small adults. They have special needs based on their physiologic, anatomic, developmental and cognitive attributes, all of which put them at increased risk during a disaster or terrorist event. Some of their unique vulnerabilities in a disaster event include:
- Developmental and cognitive levels may impede their ability to escape danger;
- Age and cognitive development may not be sufficiently developed to convey medical history or other pertinent information if they become separated from their parents;
- Weight appropriate medications as well as appropriately sized equipment and supplies are essential in order to effectively treat children;
- Children with chronic conditions and special health-care needs are particularly at risk if their survival depends upon medications or medical technology, such as ventilators;
- Less blood and fluid reserves increases their risk for dehydration and shock;
- Higher respiratory rates put children at risk for greater exposure to aerosolized agents;
- More permeable skin and larger skin surface to mass ratio increases their exposure risk to some biological and chemical agents; this also increases their risk for hypothermia; and
- Increased vulnerability to radiation exposure requires a more vigorous medical response than adults.
Cited from the Illinois Emergency Medical System for Children Program.