Children are the most prevalent vulnerable population in US society and have unique needs during the response to and recovery from public health emergencies. The physiological, behavioral, developmental, social, and mental health differences of children require specific attention in preparedness efforts. Despite often being more severely affected in disasters, children's needs are historically underrepresented in preparedness.
Since 2001, much progress has been made in addressing this disparity through better pediatric incorporation in preparedness planning from national to local levels. Innovative approaches, policies, and collaborations contribute to these advances. However, many gaps remain in the appropriate and proportional inclusion of children in planning for public health emergencies.
Successful models of pediatric planning can be developed, evaluated, and widely disseminated to ensure that further progress can be achieved.