Children in Disaster Situations


Children in Disaster Situations

children in disaster situations

When disaster strikes, there are many factors to consider. Having children can have a profound impact on how you must handle a situation. When children are exposed to disasters, their responses much depend on their age. Based on responses from children, you will need to help maintain their mental states and well being.

Children under the age of two or three will not have the mental capacity to understand what is going on. The images of any bodies or injuries around them may affect them later on in life, but they will not be able to process the loss of life or friends no longer being there.

Kids between the ages of four and seven will have a better idea of what is going on, but will have the addition of worry. This age, children feel helpless and need to be reassured countless times that you are there for them. Protection is key for this age. The loss of life will be known to them, and injuries may make them panic.

Older children around ages seven to twelve will revert back to a state of shock, they will remember the events for the rest of their lives. Reassurance, protection, as well as explanations need to be given. “Why” will be the number one question. “When will this end” may be the second most common question from these children. Older children also want to help. Give them small tasks and let them know that these tasks are important. This helps with the sense of “helplessness.”

Teenagers and young adults can be trained to handle survival situations. If you have a teenager, the time to start preparing is now. Teach them how to start fires, store food, use weapons, and most importantly, cope. A teenager being able to cope can mean the difference between a detrimental mistake, and the proper handling of a disaster situation. Teenagers and young adults will still need reassurance, and will still suffer from symptoms of shock.

Extra Supplies

If you have children, you need to have extra emergency supplies for them. This means more medicine, extra of everything in your First Aid Kit, extra food, and extra water. Their bodies are growing, while ours are not. Some extra considerations are child size gas masks, extra clothing, and survival gear in their size.

Your Behavior has an Impact

The most important thing children in disaster situations can learn from is YOUR behavior during and after the disaster. Children look up to us more than we realize. It’s important to provide a good example for them, whether in a disaster situation or not. Children must be comforted, whether it is an inconvenient situation or not. Morale is important for adults, but even more vital for children. If there seems like there is no hope, show them there is hope. There is always hope, and this hope can be taught before and during a disaster strikes. In your survival pack, include your child’s favorite toy or stuffed animal. Clinging to this item, it can remind them of hope and comfort them in difficult times. Protect and reassure children in disaster situations. After all, they are our future.


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