Expert Offers Tips on Comforting and Educating Kids after Mass Shooting

October 02, 2017 06:05 PM

Among other ancillary outcomes to consider about the Las Vegas mass shooting is how children might hear about and respond to the most deadly of its kind in recent U.S. history.

Dr. Nathan Chomilo, a pediatrician with Park Nicollet Clinic, says children will often show their confusion, anxiety and grief through physical complaints. They may mention headaches, stomach aches or trouble sleeping. Knowing how to explain how those can relate to such an event can be difficult for parents. Dr. Chomilo offers these tips: 


RELATED: Las Vegas Strip Shooting that Killed at Least 59, Injured 527 Deadliest in Modern US History

"If it is a young child, preschool age, we might just say something simple as 'there are bad people and they did some bad things, but Mom and Dad are here. You are safe with us,'" Chomilo said.

For older kids, the doctor suggests offering more, but still limited, details, without going to certain specifics. 

"Say, 'yes, there was a shooter. People were shot, some died, but the bad man was taken down or continued and we are going to try and figure out why.'" Chomilo said. "While not going into gory details." 

The next step, he said, is limiting exposure to the graphic scenes that are playing over and over -- and could be for a while. 

Chomilo also warns that the sometimes-angry political debate that inevitably follows an attack like this can increase anxiety and fear in kids. 


Lindsey Brown

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