The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Pediatric Disaster Preparedness and Response Topical Collection resource endeavors to inform and guide pediatricians as well as planners, responders, care providers, and volunteers to be better prepared to meet the unique needs of children in times of crises and disasters.
Children have many unique anatomic, physiologic, immunologic, developmental, and psychological considerations that potentially affect their vulnerability to injury and response in a disaster. The underlying principle of pediatric disaster preparedness is to ensure that the medical and psychological needs of children are met during and after disaster events.
Included in the AAP Pediatric Disaster Preparedness and Response Topical Collection you will find the following content:
To be fully prepared for disasters, the best strategy is an all-hazards approach. All components within the chain of care for those affected by disasters can benefit from additional knowledge and guidance to improve pediatric preparedness.
Chapter 1: How Children are Different
As all pediatric care providers know, one cannot treat children as small adults. Children have many unique anatomic, physiologic, immunologic, developmental, and psychological considerations that potentially affect their vulnerability to injury and response in a disaster. Pediatricians can and should ensure that the needs of children are met in triage, diagnosis, and management in times of catastrophic occurrences.
Chapter 2: Disaster Planning for Pediatricians
Preparedness is probably the most important phase of response in emergency management. Parents know their child best and can greatly benefit from their pediatrician’s help with planning before an emergency or disaster.
Chapter 3: Preparedness Planning in Specific Practice Settings
The underlying principle of pediatric disaster preparedness is to ensure that the medical and psychological needs of children are met during and after disaster events. Proper planning can help a practice provide the necessary care to their patients.
Chapter 4: Mental Health Issues
Pediatricians and other health professionals that care for children will play many critical roles in identifying and addressing the mental health needs of children and families in a disaster or crisis event.
Chapter 5: Emerging Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases remain among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially in resource-limited countries. Guidelines are available for recognizing, isolating, and safely managing children with highly hazardous infectious diseases.
Chapter 6: Pediatric Preparedness Exercises
In conducting exercises specifically geared toward pediatric populations, hospitals and community-based providers can identify gaps in preparedness, training, response, and recovery for children in disasters.
Chapter 7: Nuclear and Radiological Events
Medical professionals, including pediatricians, need to be knowledgeable regarding the principles and management of radiological injury, not only to provide proper diagnosis and treatment to those affected, but also to alleviate public fear and counter potential misinformation.
Chapter 8: Biological Events
All public health and medical responses to bioterrorism events begin at the local level. Pediatricians are front-line health care providers in every community, and they may become front-line responders in a bioterrorist attack.
Chapter 9: Chemical Events
Successful planning and response to events involving chemical terrorism require strong
collaboration and integrated functioning of many agencies and facilities, both governmental and
nongovernmental, including local treatment facilities, local and state health departments, and federal agencies.
Chapter 10: Pediatric Decontamination
Pediatricians need to be aware of pediatric decontamination strategies and appropriate use of personal protective equipment to protect health care staff
Chapter 11: Physical Trauma: Blunt and Penetrating Injuries Due to Explosives and Firearms
Treatment of blast trauma involves full integration of the regional emergency medical services system and the regional trauma system, in accordance with plans developed in collaboration with regional public safety and emergency management agencies.
Citation: American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatric Disaster Preparedness and Response Topical Collection Chung S, Foltin G, Schonfeld DJ, eds. American Academy of Pediatrics; 2022.
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Additional information can be found on the comprehensive AAP Disasters and Children website.
American Academy of Pediatrics