Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Talking with Children about Natural Disasters

September 15, 2017

When my school-aged son asked me about how people and animals were supposed to escape the path of the Hurricane Irma, I really had to pause and consider how best to respond. It is not always clear how to handle these questions, especially when we as adults may also be struggling to understand ourselves. Because these devastating events have a high potential to cause trauma, including in children, we wanted to share some resources on methods to talk to young children about disasters and manage traumatic stress.

  • This New York Times article tells the stories of how several children experienced PTSD following Hurricane Katrina.
  • In this blog post, Dr. Flaura Winston shares resources for parents on how to help their children cope with disasters.
  • In this blog post, Christie Alminde, RN, CPN, provides steps to help reduce the impact of a potentially traumatic event.
  • This editorial in the Houston Chronicle suggests that schools should provide access to mental health services. 
  • In this blog post, Dr. Kassam-Adams describes a public health approach to prevent posttraumatic stress among the young.

Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by the recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires.