More and more natural disasters have been affecting the United States and other countries around the world throughout the last few years, and some people even fear World War III. Under these circumstances, emergency preparedness is a necessity, especially for parents.
Kids have special needs that need to be taken into account when preparing for the worst. They have different eating habits, they get bored fast, they are fragile and prone to injuries, they grow up fast, and they have no idea how to act in case of emergency.
As a parent, you need to take all these aspects into account and meet all your children’s needs if you want to make sure they are safe and comfortable at all times.
Here are five steps every parent should follow to prepare for emergencies:
1. Store Kid-Friendly Comfort Food
When packing for emergencies, you need food that does not spoil easy and does not require cooking. Although adults will eat almost anything in an emergency situation, children, especially small ones, will not. It is important to store foods that cater both to the children’s taste and their nutritional needs. Here are a few ideas:
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
- Powdered milk
- Instant soup, noodles
- Instant desserts (pudding, hot chocolate, milkshake powder)
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Canned juices
- Snacks and treats (dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, candy, chips, pretzels, cookies)
2. Have Some Entertainment Options
Kids get bored fast, especially indoors, in closed environments with no TV. If you want to survive in a shelter, for example, you will need solutions to keep them entertained. With modern technology, it should be easy to download and keep some games saved on your smartphones. But what if there is no power to charge them? As a backup, remember to pack board games, playing cards, reading or coloring books, play dough, building blocks, puzzles, and anything else that helps your children have a good time.
3. Training for Specific Medical Situations
There is nothing worse than watching someone you love get hurt and not being able to do anything about it. You can read a book on how to treat common illnesses when they happen to you, but what if children get hurt and their lives are in danger?
An ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) certification course will teach you how to deal with life-threatening emergencies, maintain calm, focus on several tasks simultaneously, and perform advanced emergency interventions. If you graduated such a course a long time ago, you can pursue an ACLS recertification online. Both courses cover the following subjects:
- Basic Life Support
- Heart Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Devices
- Life-Threatening Issues
4. Educate Your Kids
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, having a sound plan in case of emergency is very important. This plan should cover your kids as well, and it is up to you to teach them what to do and when to do it. Here are a few ideas:
- Teach your children to use a cell phone and have them memorize the phone numbers to call in case of emergency.
- Choose a meeting point for everyone to reach in case you are separated from one another, and go over the easiest routes with your children to make sure they can get there.
- Designate someone reliable to pick up the kids from school in case you can’t, and prepare the kids for the event, teach them some codes.
- Teach your children to write and send text messages, as texting may still work when the cell-phone signal is down.
5. Keep Sizing Up-to-Date
It should go without saying that you need to store clothes, footwear, and diapers for your children. The trick is that the little ones will most likely outgrow them in a couple of months. You need to check their size and update these items regularly. If you do not, and they no longer fit your children, you could find yourself in the unfortunate situation of not being able to use them.
Other Basic Principles to Follow
Both you and your children will have a lot of things to remember. You could forget some of them under stress, so don’t hesitate to create reminder cards with contact numbers, meeting points, and other important details. Give one to each family member.
Also, since there is no telling whether you will be traveling, for what distance, or how much space you’ll have, pack the items to take with you as lightly and easy to carry around as possible. Remember to store them in a place where they are easily accessible so you can grab them on the go.
Gathering and packing all the necessary items, getting medical training, and educating your kids will take time and money, so the sooner you start, the better. You can take things slow and spend small amounts of money every month, but don’t postpone everything. Disasters always strike when you least expect them, and it would be a pity to get caught off-guard.