#childsafety | How to talk to your kids about tragedy


UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) — Fourteen children and a teacher were killed after a shooting at a Texas elementary school Tuesday, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbott said.

The shooting happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde where second, third and fourth-graders went to learn. The last day of the school year is Thursday.

Abbott said the shooter, who he identified as 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos from Uvalde, is dead. The chief of police for the school district said they believe the shooter acted alone.

Dr. Brent D. Kaziny, medical director of emergency management at Texas Children’s Hospital, provided advice to KXAN on how parents should approach talking with their children about a traumatic event.

Where should parents start the conversation?

“A lot of this does start at home. I think it’s really important to have open access and dialogue with children about these things, especially some of the older children in the school who are able to process it a little bit different,” Kaziny said. “One of the challenges of pediatrics is that different developmental stages react very differently to trauma. Reaching out to the school and the school district to resources that I’m certain they will provide in the aftermath of this. Reaching out to your general pediatrician. Those are two great steps.”

What kind of questions should they be asking?

“How can I help my child cope with this? What are some things that I should do to allow them the ability to process it in their own way? Have a healthy response to this horrific event,” Kaziny said.

What are some signs of trauma?

“They may do things that parents don’t recognize…they’re having issues with the grieving process. Children that don’t wet the bed, may wet the bed. They may start talking in ‘baby-talk,’” Kaziny said. “For a parent that doesn’t know to look for things, that might be a challenge.”

What should you do if your child needs help?

“Any time you have concerns about your child’s safety or well-being…that is a real red line and that requires more immediate care and more immediate response,” Kaziny said. “That may be going and seeking emergency medical care… intensive outpatient therapy. I think parents need to be open to these things as ways to help their children heal and deal with these processes.”



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