As the Centers for Disease Control say, “Children are more vulnerable in emergencies because of their physical, developmental, behavioral, and emotional differences from adults. Children may have difficulty or may not be able to communicate symptoms or feelings. They may understand less about the situation and feel less able to control the events around them.
The aftermath of an emergency or disaster is also difficult for children because they have less experience coping with difficult situations.”
We, as parents, teachers, caregivers, and as a community, need to consider children’s needs and developmental level in our preparation for, response to and recovery from disasters. But, as evidenced by the 10-year girl who warned others of the incoming tsunami in Indonesia, children can be resilient also. Teaching them how to stay safe in different types of situations and including them in our families’ plans in case of disaster can help them feel prepared and empowered.