Because of unique vulnerabilities of children, their special
needs should be addressed in hospital disaster planning to
ensure that health care providers and health care facilities are
prepared to meet the needs of this vulnerable population.
As a parent, you are in the best position to help your child in
the event of a disaster. Just as you talk to your child’s doctor
about his or her health, such as what to do when your child is
sick or hurt, you can also talk to your child’s doctor, mental
health professional, or someone at your child’s school who can
help you and your child after a disaster.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) developed The Pediatric
Preparedness Resource Kit in response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
This resource allows for pediatricians, public health leaders and
other pediatric care providers to assess what is already
happening in their community or state, and help determine what
needs to be done before an emergency or disaster. The kit will
promote collaborative discussions and decision making about
pediatric preparedness planning.
To help address availability and inaccessibility of resources for
pediatric disaster preparedness, the EMS for Children Program
developed an information network of resources targeting health
providers, emergency and community planners, and families.
The primary purpose is to help communities achieve an optimal
level of emergency readiness for children who are involved in an
environmental, health, or man-made disaster.
The special medical needs of children make it essential that
health care facilities be prepared for both pediatric and adult
victims of bioterrorism attacks, including those resulting from
dispersal of airborne or foodborne agents.1, 2 Moreover, while
terrorist attacks on the United States have provoked the
development of guidelines for hospital responses to acts of
bioterrorism, few have focused on pediatric facilities.2
Compounding the problem is that many disaster plans that have
been designed for children’s hospitals are not designed to
accommodate large numbers of contagious individuals capable of
disseminating highly lethal infectious agents.
This document is designed to address the topic of converting
pediatric hospitals from standard operating capacity to surge
capacity in response to large numbers of children with
communicable airborne and foodborne agents.
Particular aspects of emergency care for children may be
especially difficult for rural hospitals to meet as they often
have less access to pediatric and emergency medicine trained
The attached study “Pediatric Care in Rural Hospital Emergency
Departments”, was compiled using data analysis which
compared rural and urban hospitals’ responses on various
dimensions of pediatric ED care:
Created by experts at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles as a
deliverable for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Healthcare Facilities Emergency Care Partnership Program Grant,
the Information included in this document is based on learnings
from the 2009 H1N1 Influenza outbreak that began in early 2009.
The information is intended to provide supplementary
recommendations for pediatric pandemic influenza planning and can
be used as an addendum to a larger pandemic planning document.
Children have important physical, physiologic, developmental, and
mental differences from adults that can and must be anticipated
in the disaster planning process. Plans must ensure that health
care facilities and medical providers are prepared to meet the
medical needs of children of all ages and developmental stages.
To support the reunification of unaccompanied minors and
separated or missing children with their parents or legal
guardians in the aftermath of a disaster, the attached document
entitled “Post Disaster Reunification of Children: A Nationwide
Approach” was developed.