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News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital Offers Tips for Parents to Discuss Tragedy

The tragic events that have taken place and continue to occur in Maryland and Virginia have spread fear and uncertainty among not only the communities they have occurred in, but also in communities across the United States.

Considering many people are still recovering from the aftermath of September 11, the current prolonged random violence that continues to unfold, is affecting people – children and adults – with increased intensity. As a hospital that cares for thousands of children across the region and country each year, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has made tips available on its Web site at

How can you, as a parent or guardian, deal with the fear and anxiety that can affect your child in the wake of these horrible events? There is no single or easy answer. In part, how you respond will depend on whether members of your family have been personally involved, what your child has heard or seen on the news, and the age of your child.

These tips are designed to help parents and caregivers find the best and most appropriate way to discuss tragedy with children.

“Children need to know that there are real dangers in the world, but that grown-ups are working hard to make sure that they are safe,” said Dena Hofkosh, MD, chief of the Child Development Unit at Children’s. “Sensible precautions should be part of every child’s learning.”

Experts at Children’s Hospital recommend that parents be honest with their children regarding tragic events, but that they should not overexpose children to broadcasts.

Other recommendations include:

  • In times of crisis, spend extra time with your children.
  • Hearing and viewing repeated news reports about terrorism and violence is frightening to children. Limit your children’s access to news reports covering violence.
  • If children hear about violence in the news or see a news report, allow them to talk about how it makes them feel. Acknowledge their feelings, which may range from fear, sadness or confusion. Reassure them that you will help keep them safe and that when they are at school their teachers will help keep them safe. Remind them that the police, fire departments and other government officials also are working to protect them and others.

Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016,
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008