In the 2010 Census, there were 74 million children (<18 years) in the United States, accounting for 24 percent of the population. This percentage approaches 50 percent in the developing world. Children are a very vulnerable group, likely to be frequent victims of natural and man-made disasters in significant numbers. Of the estimated 250,000 killed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, nearly half were children. Whether exposed to natural disasters (epidemics, floods, earthquakes) or man-made disasters (war, terrorism, accidents), children have vulnerabilities and needs that are different from adults.3,4  Failure to consider them in disaster planning places children at risk of harm. Such specific concerns include:

Disaster preparedness plans have historically focused on adults, lumping children into an “at risk” population along with other vulnerable groups such as pregnant women or the elderly. This...

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