Monday, September 24, 2018

National Preparedness Month Day 24--Kid Preps

If you have kids--from infants to teenagers--you are probably well versed in doing more to prep for them than if you are just talking about yourself or yourself and your spouse.  You make sure they are fed, have beverages with them, are safe, are entertained, have all of their sports gear with them when they head out to school and also have their homework with them, you ensure the baby has extra diapers and your hungriest teenager has extra food with other words, you probably prep more for your kids on a daily basis than you do for yourself.

During an emergency, you want to be sure you have all of the kid prep stuff down--in triplicate--so that you will be able to take care of them as well as every other thing that needs to be dealt with.  You don't want to run out of diapers just as a major snow storm hits and you don't want to have only a few cans of soup in the pantry when a hurricane is set to hit.  Consider these extra preps if you have kids:

  • Have kid-specific stuff in your first aid kit (children's Tylenol, etc).  Also have extra of any common prescriptions they use (for the love of all that's holy don't give them an antibiotic for every little sniffle...parents have been doing this for decades and it is not a good thing to do).
  • Make sure they are vaccinated and keep digital copies of their vaccination and other medical records in your back-up files.
  • If your kid has a medical condition like life-threatening allergies, stockpile EpiPens and other needed things (inhalers for asthma, etc).
  • Stockpile the stuff your kids regularly use.  Diapers, formula, wipes, school supplies, etc.  If it is something you buy regularly for your kids, buy extra every time you shop to keep as a back up.  In the event your kid outgrows some of the stuff stockpiled, like diapers, just donate the leftovers to a charity that can use them.
  • Consider stockpiling things you don't normally use for use during a disaster.  If you always use cloth diapers, stockpile some disposable diapers to use during a disaster.  Ditto formula even if you breastfeed, and canned baby food even is you usually make it yourself.
  • Make sure each kid has EDC items with them like extra cash duct taped to the bottom of their backpack for use in an emergency as well as other emergency items.  Skip the weapons as schools tend to frown on kids with weapons.
  • Make sure each kid has a BOB at home that they can grab in an emergency.  This should include all of the gear that you have but appropriate for them (kid-sized sleeping bag, etc).
  • Make sure each kid is trained for emergencies in an age-appropriate manner.  Little kids can memorize their address and parents phone numbers.  All kids should know how to call 911.  Older kids can learn how to shut off utilities, escape the home during fire drills, and perform basic first aid skills.
  • Once kids can go off on their own they should have their own cell phone with a tracking app on it.
  • Kids should be kept busy so they stay out of trouble.  A useful way to do this (which is complementary to prepping) is to have them play sports, join cooking club, join scouting programs, etc.
  • Let kids do for themselves as much as possible.  I know one mom who still cuts her teenager's meat at dinner.  Both of them will probably be useless in a disaster but kids who have a lot of skills can be really helpful in a disaster.  Kids who can take care of pets and younger children are helpful, kids who can cook dinner for the family are helpful, kids who have lots of experience camping and backpacking are helpful.  The whole helicopter/lawnmower parenting style is stupid.
  • Stockpile special food (candy, favorite foods) and special entertainment (coloring books, games) that the kids don't know about and bring it out during a disaster as both a diversion and a way to keep kids entertained.
  • Teach kids what to do in the event of various types of disasters (school shooting, fire at home, car accident, etc).
  • Make sure your kids are as skilled as possible (swimming, ride a bicycle, self defense, shooting, etc).
  • Make sure each kid has a written communication/meet up plan in their school backpacks.  In case the family gets separated, they need to know how to meet up again.
  • Give your kids age-appropriate responsibilities during and after a disaster.  This will give them something to do besides worry and will teach them how to work together as a team.
  • Have all of the things you would need on hand if your child turns up missing--a recent photo, physical description, dental records, even a DNA sample.
  • After a disaster pay attention to any psychological issues your child may have and take appropriate steps to help them.

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