Children may need extra reassurance from parents before boarding planes after seeing images of the MH17 disaster in the news, parenting advisor John Cowan says.
He said children lacked the maturity to interpret the size of the risk of the event they saw on the news and how it may affect them.
Parents who were taking children on overseas trips needed to "model calm" if children were nervous about flying, said Mr Cowan, presenter of The Parenting Place.
"It probably is taking some kids back a little bit, so they need that adult interpretation of their world," he said.
"I think parents should be careful and be aware that some news can upset [children].
"We need to model calm -- and of course some of us as adults are a bit nervous about travel too.
"The biggest thing that reassures children is that you are with them."
Mr Cowan encouraged parents to discuss what they were seeing on the news with their children, and add their own commentary to what they were seeing.
"Don't minimise it, don't say 'it could be worse' or 'it doesn't really matter because it happened overseas'.
"Say 'that's really, really sad' -- it should be our response to be sad when these calamities happen, and children themselves need to know that these things aren't just to shrug at."
Mr Cowan said some parents would be better leaving the news off if their children were obviously distressed by what they saw.
If children were watching news of disasters like MH17 or the war in Gaza it would be important to put adult interpretation on it, he said.
"If you see that they are engaged, a good thing perhaps is to turn the volume down in the ad breaks and have a little korero about what's been on.
"I wouldn't talk about it just before bedtime, but I would talk about it at some stage."
Mr Cowan said parents could say things like, 'We could have an earthquake like that in New Zealand but our buildings are better' or 'we're lucky that we live in a country where people are well supported by the police and the army'.
"This was a big thing in the Canterbury Earthquake," he said.
"Just reassuring children that there are lots of people looking out for them."
Tips to engage children in news events in a healthy way:
*After seeing news footage of a distressing nature, ask children whether they ever worry about things like that happening to them.
*Reinforce the safety of New Zealand and the security they have in their home.
*Add commentary to put what is being shown on the news in perspective for children.
*Talk about what was on the news later in the evening, but not just before bedtime.
*Turn off the news if children are getting agitated or upset.
*Do let them watch it, especially as they get older.