Infants, toddlers and children need special attention during and after a disaster—not just physically, but emotionally as well. Below are some basic emergency planning tips for families with children.
- Make sure your emergency kit includes enough baby formula, baby food, diapers, bottles, toys and games to keep your children safe and comfortable after a disaster.
- If children go to preschool, daycare or school, it is important for parents or guardians to know the school’s emergency plan.
- Review and update information on your child’s emergency card as needed.
- Allow a trusted friend or relative that lives near you to pick up your children from school in case you are unable to travel to the school after a disaster.
- Tell trusted neighbors when your children are home alone so they can take care of them if you are not there when a disaster strikes.
AFTER AN EMERGENCY
- Encourage children to talk about their fears. Let them ask questions and tell you how they're feeling. Listen to what they say, as a family group when possible.
- Reassure them with love.
- Reassure them that they are safe and answer their questions honestly.
- Tell them, in simple language, what is happening. Tell them that they are not responsible for what happened. Limit the amount of news they hear on the radio or see on the TV.
- Hold and hug them often.
- When they go back to school, encourage them to also talk about their problems with teachers or school counselors and to play games, ride bikes and do all of the other things they did before the disaster.
Ready.gov/Kids - More information and fun online games that help teach kids about emergency prepardness.
After the Storm (PDF) - A guide to help children cope with the pyschological affects of a hurricane.
Red Cross Children and Disasters Page - Preparing for childrens' responses, advice for parents, and tips on recovery.
Pennsylvania Department of Health Emergency Prepardness Tips - Additional information for groups whose needs may not be fully addressed by traditional service providers.