Disaster preparedness is costly; however, the cost involved in the lack of preparedness is incalculable. Pediatric disaster preparedness education is crucial as there are many nuances that exist around children and disasters, such as supplies, equipment and dosing, as well as physiological and mental factors that make the acute response dramatically different from adults. As a result, it is important that families, schools, and hospital employees are familiar with pediatric disaster preparedness. In this article, we will discuss the challenges related to pediatric disaster preparedness education.
Pediatric disaster preparedness is a complex area, due to the specific needs of the pediatric population: pediatric medication dosing and contra-indications, size-appropriate equipment and unique psychosocial needs, age-appropriate mental health support and provision for family reunification, and limited research in pediatric disaster response and education.
One of the first steps in pediatric disaster preparedness education is deciding on the appropriate populations to educate. In June 2001, the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health conducted a conference on Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Curriculum Development. The conference identified three healthcare provider categories: emergency medical services (EMS)/first responders, emergency department (ED)/hospital staff, and ambulatory staff.
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