The American Academy of Pediatrics, which often provides advice on helping children cope with disasters and tragedies, offered this response from Thomas McInerny, MD, FAAP, the President of the AAP:
"Today is a day of sadness and grief for everyone who cares for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers its deepest sympathies to everyone affected by today's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Pediatricians and other child health experts strongly recommend that schools and parents avail themselves of resources to help them talk with children about this disaster. As in any frightening situation, young children should not be exposed to the extensive media coverage of the event -- in other words, turn off the TV, computer, and other media devices. The AAP offers resources for talking to children about disasters, and advice on watching for signs of stress and trauma. Parents also can use their child's pediatrician as a source of advice and support during this time."
Most importantly, remember that "children can cope more effectively with a disaster when they feel they understand what is happening and what they can do to help protect themselves, family, and friends. Provide basic information to help them understand, without providing unnecessary details that may only alarm them."