Posts Tagged ‘emergency preparedness for kids’

I live in New York City, and there has been TONS of coverage on the news about Hurricane Irene and how to prepare your family and apartment. The more I think about it, with hurricane season making headlines, kids may be scared by the storm coverage they see on the news. I read about these great tips to keep child fear and stress down during such scary times that kids may have never experienced with the weather from The Federal Emergency Management Agency.

1.  Be Prepared
Assemble a disaster supply kit that includes flashlights, batteries, candles, lighter or matches, fire extinguisher, generator and fuel, and first aid kit. Make sure you have prescription medications filled.

2.  Food
Store food and extra water (as well as water purification kit) for the family, at least a week’s worth. Consider non-perishable foods and juice, baby formula, a manual can opener, paper plates and coolers for food and ice. Other supplies to consider having on-hand, personal wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, and pet food.

3.  Battery Operated Radio
Families should listen together to a battery operated radio or television during the storm for weather updates. FEMA also reminds everyone to stay inside during a hurricane because you could be hit by flying objects.

4.  Meeting Spot
Also, arrange a place to meet your family in case you are evacuated or separated during a disaster. Choose a friend or relative out of state for your family members to all call to report they are OK.

Go over all of these tips with your children so that the fear of “unknowing” helps dissipate. Alternatively, sometimes it helps for kids to write about the experience or to draw pictures about how they feel.

The National Hurricane Center, part of the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tracks tropical storms and hurricanes. Click here for a map your child can print and use to track storms.

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Every parent is concerned about their child’s safety whether they are in a car seat, swimming in a pool, crossing the street or when they get separated from us. My daughter is now 3-years-old and I’m determined to teach her some basics about safety. We’ve all had the scare in a store when our child steps just out of our site. They may be only 1-2 feet away hiding in a clothing rack, but they might as well be half way across the store! As a parent, if we can’t see them, we don’t know if they’re safe. I may not show it to my daughter when this happens, but I’m panicked. I don’t want to instill fear in her, but my goal is to teach her some fundamental concepts and practices to keep her as safe as possible.  

Lilah playing Hide and Seek

  • All children should know their Name, Parents Names, Phone Number, and Address as soon as they are able to (though they should also be taught not to share this with everyone).
  • Teach your child to dial 911 at home or on a cell phone and explain the problem (mommy is sick or hurt or someone I don’t know is in the house).
  • If your child gets separated it’s best to teach them to go to a woman (no offense guys) since statistics show that more children (beyond infancy) are taken or prayed upon by men.  Generally, telling them to go to a cashier is better than a security guard because an employees is always there (since children can not spot a fake badge or may mistake someone dressed all in blue as someone official) and they are likely to make an announcement for you or get security to find you.
  • Teach them not to take anything from a stranger unless it is approved by you. There are sites that have safety games or that show you how to make flash cards with photos to help your child recognize the difference between a friend and a stranger.
  • Abductors often ask for directions or for help finding a pet. Teach children to stay away from any adult asking for help because that adult should be asking an adult for help, not a child.
  • Teach children what to do in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster that can strike your area. In case of a fire they should also know what the smoke detector sounds like and how to get to safety.
  • Teach children to NEVER answer the door alone.
  • Teach them to NEVER get in anyone’s car without your DIRECT permission.
  • If you are out in public make sure your kids know where to go if you get separated. Make a plan. Statistics show that parents temporarily lose their children at theme parks 27% of the time. That’s almost 1 in 3.
  • It’s important for them to know that if someone tries to grab them and take them away to yell for HELP!
  • Promote an environment in which your child feels free to talk to you about anything. Tell them not to trust ANYONE who tells them to keep a secret from you.

As your child gets older, spends more time at friend’s houses or is unsupervised by you there are additional guidelines to put in place, but this should get you started. Here are a few websites ( www.kidpower.org, www.safechild.org,  www.dltk-kids.com, www.surfnetkids.com and www.powerofparentsonline.com) where you can find more information.

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