American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Offers Guidance for Helping Children Cope with DisastersThe AAP is preparing pediatricians—and all adults in positions that support children—to help children psychologically cope with crises and disasters. The AAP provides information on the following topics: the importance of basic services and timely triage and referral; psychological first aid; helping children understand and adjust to loss; supporting pediatricians; and much more.
The Centers for Disease Control Created a Coping After Disasters Activity BookThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers an activity book, “Coping After a Disaster,” for parents and educators to use to better communicate with children about coping mechanisms in the wake of a disaster. The CDC encourages adults to use this activity book in schools, communities, and within families to help children talk about their feelings after a disaster and to learn positive ways to express their emotions in uncertain times.
CampDoc.com, a leading electronic health record system for camps, released its Emergency Plan communication tool. The Emergency Plan tool allows camps to prepare for critical components of disaster and emergency planning, such as the capability to inform parents and campers about a disaster. The American Camp Association requires that accredited camps establish emergency procedures. However, a 2017 study published in the Southern Medical Journal, Assessing Disaster Preparedness Among Select Children’s Summer Camps in the United States and Canada, concluded that the majority of camps are missing critical components of disaster planning. The study also found that disaster plans often did not account for children with access and functional needs or medical needs, nor did they include methods for safely reunifying campers and caregivers. Using the CampDoc.com Emergency Plan tool not only helps camps establish an emergency plan but also makes these plans easily accessible to camp families and staff.
FEMA's Helping Kids Cope with Disaster FEMAThe FEMA Coping with Disaster page provides information on how to manage the emotional effects of disasters and has specific guidance for helping kids cope with disasters. One area of focus is techniques for recognizing risk factors. These factors are:• Direct exposure to the disaster, such as evacuating, observing injuries or death in others, or personally experiencing physical or emotional trauma;• Loss/grief caused by the death or serious injury of family or friends; and• Ongoing stress from the secondary effects of disaster, such as temporarily living elsewhere, loss of friends and social networks, loss of personal property, parental unemployment, and costs incurred during recovery to return the family to pre-disaster life and living conditions.