Lots of the agents used for biological and chemical attacks are aerosolized (eg, sarin, chlorine, or anthrax). Because children have quicker respiratory rates than adults, they’re vulnerable to comparatively greater doses and will undergo the effects of the agents far faster than adults. Kids will also possibly absorb more of this substance before it’s cleared or diffuses in the respiratory tissues. Many chemical agents, including certain gases like sarin and chlorine, have a high vapor density and are heavier than air, meaning that they “settle” near the earth, in the air space used by kids for breathing.
Many chemical and biological agents are absorbed through the skin. Because children have more surface area relative to body mass than adults and because young children, particularly those younger than 6 weeks, have more permeable skin, they get proportionally higher doses of agents that affect the skin or are absorbed through the skin. Additionally, since the skin of children is poorly keratinized, vesicants and corrosives result in greater harm to children than to adults. Another concern in children, due to the relatively large surface area in relation to body mass, is they shed heat fast when showered. Consequently, skin decontamination with water may lead to hypothermia unless heating lamps along with other heating equipment are used.
Kids have a higher minute ventilation, which contributes to greater internal exposure to radioactive gases. Nuclear fallout quickly settles into the ground, causing a greater concentration of radioactive material from the space where children live and breathe. Children have a significantly increased chance of developing cancer even if they’re exposed to radiation in utero.
Children are especially vulnerable due to physical developmental limitations. Babies, toddlers, and young children don’t have the motor skills to escape from the website of a chemical or biological incident. Even when able to walk, they might not have the cognitive ability to comprehend the presence of danger based on a terrorist event and for that reason may not find an escape or be able to determine in which direction to flee. Even worse, children might actually migrate toward the event out of curiosity to see the gasoline, colored representative, or other results.