WHY WE NEED PEDIATRIC DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
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.