Thursday, September 10, 2009

Basic Kid Prep Gear

One of my earliest memories is of the preparedness gear my granddad gave me. They lived in an old farm house, in a rural area, with a big old wood stove that provided heat and a place to cook. Granddad thought that it was important that everyone in the house was prepared so all of us grandkids were issued sleeping bags, a flashlight, a transistor radio, and a pocket knife which we kept with us at all times. When the power went out, which it often did, each person had a flashlight at the ready. When we couldn't get to sleep (this was before there were TVs in every bedroom) we had a radio to keep us company. Sleeping bags were used throughout the year either on our beds for added warmth, for the many camping trips we took throughout the summer, or anytime we felt like a change of scenery and camped outside in the back yard. Also, kids having pocket knives by their seventh or eight year was a normal thing back then. Later additions included a backpack and a hunting rifle.
So what kind of gear should your kids have on hand? Here's some ideas:
  • A sleeping bag is still a useful item even if it is only used for camping in the living room.
  • A day pack with basic overnight supplies is a good idea. This can be their mini "Go Bag" in case the family needs to evacuate at a moment's notice.
  • A flashlight kept under their bed is a good idea, even if your area isn't prone to power outages.
  • A cell phone has become a lifeline, even for kids. It appears that kids carrying cell phones are getting younger by the year but it is up to each parent to determine at what point giving a kid a cell phone is appropriate.
  • You could give a kid a transistor radio but they would wonder what it was. A better option may be an iPod or MP3 player that also has the ability to pick up FM radio so that they can be entertained with their own music but also have a way to access emergency radio broadcasts (although texting and Twittering via their cell phone may take care of this just as well).
  • I still believe in giving kids pocket knives and firearms. Each parent will need to make such a decision based on their own beliefs, the maturity of their kids, and their ability to supervise their kids. Years ago it was common for kids to carry pocket knives to school, apparently this is cause for expulsion these days but kids can still be taught how to be responsible with a pocket knife and how (and when) to use it properly. Ditto with firearms. Obviously, in today's climate, I wouldn't suggest giving either of these items to kids who have a single mom who works all the time as kids need constant supervision with any type of dangerous weapon. There are a number of other issues these days that could also have an impact on whether or not to provide these items to kids including kids with mental health or suicidal issues, kids prone to gang or bullying problems, kids with discipline problems or drug issues, etc.

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