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Clinicians Recommend Youngest Hurricane Victims Return Last

11/15/2005:   Children eat, drink, and breathe more than adults on a pound for pound basis. Their exploratory behavior also places them in contact with materials adults sometimes avoid. The youngest victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, therefore, are more vulnerable to environmental hazards and should not be involved in cleanup efforts, according to a recent statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units.

Before children or teens return to areas impacted by floods and hurricanes, the clinicians suggest a series of health steps be taken, including:
  • reestablishing water, electricity, and gas;
  • reestablishing a reliable food supply that includes infant formula;
  • restoring 911 access;
  • ensuring that medications and medical supplies are readily accessible;
  • restoring sewage systems; and
  • clearing environmental hazards from children's living, learning, and play spaces.
More detailed information about safely returning children to these areas is available online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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