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AAP Offers Updated Recommendations on Nuclear Emergency Preparation and Response


The AAP is issuing an updated policy statement and technical report on children and radiological and nuclear emergencies. The update, “Pediatric Considerations Before, During and After Radiological/Nuclear Emergencies,” appears in the December 2018 issue of Pediatrics (published online Nov. 26), and incorporates new information learned from the Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant emergencies, as well as information on the risks of living close to nuclear power plants. Radiation is a concern for children because they are likely to absorb more radiation in relation to body size. Also, children can ingest radioactive material when they crawl or pick up contaminated objects and put them or their hands in their mouths. The AAP policy states that preparedness planning for radiologic/nuclear events is the same as preparing for all emergency events. Being prepared includes designating a meeting place, ensuring an on-hand supply of needed medications and food such as formula, and building an emergency supply kit (nonperishable foods, water, flashlight, medical supplies). It is also important to collect copies of prescriptions and important documents such as driver’s license, social security numbers, proof of residence, insurance policies, and immunization records.  The AAP also recommends that families have a plan for where to take shelter, learn about the emergency plans for school, child care and work; and make plans for pets. The statement also provides health care providers with information on how and when to administer potassium iodide to children and families.

Editor’s note:  The AAP has a Disaster Supply List for Families that is available as a preparedness resource.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds