Prepping with babies and children can be quite tough because they don’t understand the complexity of situations as we grown-ups do. Each emergency is different, and we need to prepare our children according to that. In case of an emergency situation, you will be notified by local authorities via updates on TV, radio, or the internet. They may ask you to stay where you are, or they may recommend you to evacuate and go somewhere safe.
NOTE: Always check guidelines from local and federal authorities on how to prepare for emergencies.
Here are some preparedness tips for babies and children that every parent and grown-up should know:
1.Teach Your Kids How to Prepare for Emergencies
You can’t teach infants or babies to prepare for emergencies, but children of age 5-10 can be trained well. Teach them about natural hazards like severe thunderstorms, ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and blizzards. Have a sitting with all the family members, including your children, and discuss preparedness – it will help your older children get familiar with emergency situations and what actions to perform during one.
2. Teach Your Children How to Use 911 (Emergency Services)
In case of a disaster like fire, your children should know how to use 9-1-1 as it could save their lives and yours. No matter how old they are, here are 4 simple steps to teach them how to use 9-1-1:
- Explain to them what 9-1-1 is
- Teach them the risks before dialing 9-1-1, so they don’t dial it without any reason
- Explain what information to provide to the operator once they have dialed 9-1-1
- Practice makes everything better. Practice some scenarios with them so they can get more familiar with the situations without getting frightened
3. Practice / Role-play
If your children have already been through a demo (scenario), they will never forget what to do when an emergency actually occurs. Practicing and role-playing is the best thing you can do to prep your children for any emergency situation. Make sure you adapt scenarios according to your children’s age and development.
4. Steps to Take During Emergency Situations
Grown-ups,together, can sort out a way to get out of any difficult situation in case of an emergency, but when you are with your children, things are different and much complex. Here’s how you should prepare according to these emergencies:
Surviving an earthquake requires advance planning and preparation, so you and your family members are always ready when an earthquake occurs. You should gather emergency supplies, identify and remove possible hazards in your home, and practice with your children what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.
Try to stay as calm as possible when you are holding your baby because an earthquake will not frighten them as they are used to being jostled and lifted up here and there. Also, you should remove all the things from your baby’s room that can fall on the baby; for example, hanging pictures and plants, tall furniture, mirrors, etc.
First, you should have all the necessary supplies at hand in case of a flood. You should turn off gas, water supplies, and electrical power if there is standing water or fallen wires – don’t forget to perform this essential step even if you are evacuating your house or building. Another best thing you can do to prepare for the floodis to contact a licensed electrician and ask him to raise the electric components at least 12inch above your home’s projected flood elevation.
The water plants may get affected because of the flood, so store at least 1 gallon of filtered water per person, when a flood warning is announced on the TV or radio — store at least 3 to 4 days of supply. To prepare better, you might want to read about the emergency drinking water storage options available.
If you live in a tornado-prone area, you will most probably have a siren system to alarm everyone about a tornado coming. Depending on your country or locality, you should be aware of the difference between the siren’s sound for a tornado warning and a tornado watch. A tornado watch is issued when the weather conditions are getting worse – typicallyfavoring the formation of tornadoes. It usually happens during a severe thunderstorm.
You don’t just have to protect yourself but your baby or kids as well – for this you should take some necessary measures such as develop an emergency plan, discuss with your family where and how to seek shelter, understanding siren warning system, gathering special equipment like a rope ladder, first-aid kit, and fire extinguisher etc. in advance.
To know about the best medical tools to add in your first-aid kit, check out this article on preparing and organizing a medical kit for prepping.
5. Breastfeeding Infants
Breastfeeding is the best way to keep your baby full in an emergency. For it, no preparation, heating, or sterilization is required. However, you should not solely rely on breast milk because there are cases where mothers ‘dry up’ or are unable to feed their babies. In case of an emergency, breastfeeding mothers should always store infant formula.
It doesn’t matter if your baby doesn’t need it, stockpiling infant formula is the best thing to do in order to prepare for emergencies. If there is nothing else left to eat, older children or even adults can consume infant formula as it is an excellent source of nutrients. Breastfeeding also takes a lot of energy from the mother. To make sure that the mother is never deprived of nutrients and is able to provide adequate milk to her little ones, stockpiling extra prenatal/lactation vitamins is a good option. Prenatal Vitamins are recommended for pregnant women and Postnatal Vitamins for mommies who breastfeed.
6. Noise Reduction
Preparedness means to prepare for the worst. In case of emergencies, when even a little bit of noise can cause problems, you should know how to keep your infant or baby quiet. When preparing an emergency supply kit, don’t forget to pack several pacifiers as well. Stay in the innermost room or the basement of your home when hunkering down, so noise and sounds are muffled.
7. Face Masks for Your Babies and Children
A face mask for your baby and children is a great way to avoid any inconvenience, especially in chemical warfare. Many were exposed to toxic dust from the rubble of the twin towers during 9/11, which is still causing deaths because of the diseases they contracted. Face mask would help keep that toxic dust and other chemical substances away, so both you and your little ones don’t inhale them accidentally.
Undoubtedly, there is already much chaos around infants or babies that you might be drawn to skip disaster preparedness for them. However, infants are more susceptible to emergency situations such as disasters, floods, hurricanes, etc. than adults and even small children because they have a weak immune system that even a mild case of contamination or an infected wound can lead to severe casualties, including death.
But keep all the above tips in mind and have a solid plan and essential supplies at hand – you will be able to handle every emergency situation in a much better way.