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Children require special emergency pediatric care, as they are more vulnerable to the effects of a disaster. Any parent, family member, or guardian, wants to make sure that their loved ones are safe. Planning for a disaster can be a bit overwhelming. However, you must be prepared for any emergency. Depending on the area where you live, you might be at risk for forest fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe weather. Let’s talk about why the little ones need more care and how you can help them during a crisis.
Why Are Children More Vulnerable?
Children are very different from adults because:
- They are more prone to injuries and diseases.
- Kids breathe in more air than adults do.
- They have thinner, more delicate skin.
- Children have fewer fluids in their bodies, thus fluid loss can have a larger effect on them.
- They lose body heat faster.
- Kids don’t fully understand the concept of safety.
- They depend on adults.
- Children may not know how to explain what hurts.
- Kids do not fully understand the situation they are in.
It only takes three seconds for an earthquake to crush a home and the family inside it.
In just five hours, a flood can as much as drown a whole town. As a result, thousands of kids can be left vulnerable to deadly diseases such as malaria or cholera.
Seven days is all it takes for the lives of children to be threatened. Many countries run out of food and water and the outcome of such as disaster is malnutrition and salvation.
Are You and Your Family at Risk?
The Alert Systems Group’s disaster risk map provides us with information about the possible risks you may be facing depending on where you live. Natural disasters can affect anyone. The same goes for man-made ones. Different types of emergencies require different skills and different knowledge on how to handle them.
How to Prepare for Emergencies
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Family Readiness Kit can help you be prepared for almost every natural disaster. It was developed by specialists after discussing with thousands of families. The feedback they received helped make a set of unique, vital materials. The kit can be used at home by any member of the family.
It is important for adults to be prepared to meet the emotional needs of their children. Kids often say that their parents avoid discussing disaster. However, talking about these natural events may make the young ones feel safer.
Although it may be difficult to start preparing for an emergency, once you dive into the process, it becomes a lot easier. All family members can come together to make a disaster plan. Even the child’s doctor can help. Consequently, during your next visit to the doctor’s office, ask them how should you prepare for an emergency.
How to Communicate with Your Children
- Tell them about the disasters that could happen in the area where you live. Teach them what are the different warning signs (fire alarm, tornado siren, and more).
- Show them where the list of contact is. It’s important they know where to find the doctor’s or the pharmacy’s phone numbers.
- Teach them what 911 is and how to dial the number.
- Consider using the Child ID Card. Place a copy in their backpack.
- Arrange a meeting place in case you ever become separated from the rest of the family.
- Install the Red Cross Emergency App. If your kid is old enough for a phone, download the app to their smartphone. It will alert them of any watch or warning.
- Show children where the smoke alarms are.
- Teach the young ones how to use the fire extinguisher.
Who Provides Emergency Pediatric Care?
Children requiring emergency pediatric care have unique needs, especially when their lives are threatened. The majority of kids, either ill or injured, are brought to community hospital emergency departments. Furthermore, emergency medical services agencies can provide out-of-hospital care.
To meet the requirements of pediatric care, the Emergency Nurses Association developed the ENPC certification course. The Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course is intended to improve the care of the children by increasing the level of knowledge, the skills, and the confidence among the nursing staff.
Your neighbors may become lifesavers as well. Learn who has special qualifications such as doctors, nurses, or other emergency care practitioners.
Post-Disaster Psychological Needs
Emergency pediatric care does not end with the process of preparing for a disaster or the medical care given to treat injuries or illnesses. Parents must be aware that the psychological effects do not just disappear. Once the event has passed, you must take care of your child’s needs for a long period of time. Experts say that children can show signs of trauma for up to two years. These signs are often in the form of nightmares, but there may be other problems as well.
Children need support regardless of the fact that they may seem fine. Sometimes, kids do no exhibit signs of trauma for months after the event. Furthermore, some children may never show signs of distress, but there will be long-lasting psychological effects nonetheless. Therefore, observe your child’s behavioral changes carefully. After a trauma, children need extra counseling and attention.
Parents must seek professional help, but they must also help their children cope with what has happened. Talk to them about their fears. Ask them what they are concerned about. Listen to their feelings without judging. Try to understand their fears regardless of the fact that they may seem irrational.
Offer them reassurance that they will always be taken care of. It is also important they know they know that their family will stick together. Let them cry if they need to, and remind them that it is ok to be afraid from time to time. They do not always have to be brave. They may feel that everything is out of their control. Therefore, show them that there are many things that they are still in control of.
It’s important you remember that a disaster can occur at any given time. Luckily, there are ways to keep your children safe. The key thing to do is be prepared and teach your children everything you know. Have them learn early on about the possible danger in your area, how to avoid it, and where to find emergency pediatric care.