Posts Tagged ‘preparing for disaster’

Preparing your child for a natural disaster

Friday, May 29th, 2015

storm clouds, hurricaneNatural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, or hurricanes, can affect children differently than they do adults. Disasters cause an extreme amount of stress for anyone but children have unique needs. According to the CDC:

Children’s bodies are smaller and more vulnerable than an adult’s.
• Children are more likely to get sick or severely injured in a disaster.
• They breathe in more air per pound of body weight than adults do and therefore will breathe in more toxins or debris.
• They have thinner skin that is more easily hurt.
• Since children have less fluid in their bodies, fluid loss (such as dehydration or blood loss) will have a more significant effect on their health.
• They are more likely to lose body heat.

In an emergency, children need help from adults.
• Children may not know how to react, so older children may look to adults for cues. Younger children may scream or cry.
• Some children may not be able to explain where or how they are hurt.
• Children cannot make medical decisions for themselves and will need an adult to get medical treatment.

Disasters can be more stressful for children.
• Children may feel out of control.
• They do not understand the situation.
• They have less practice recovering from difficult experiences.

If you have young children, one of the most important things that you can do to keep your family safe in a disaster is to make a plan.  Planning for a disaster means knowing what to do in each possible situation.

Prepare: Before creating your disaster plan, it’s important to know what types of emergencies are likely in your area and the best way to respond. Different events may require different strategies. You can find more information about tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes on our website. If you are pregnant or have a young infant, these factsheets will help you understand your unique needs and prepare for an unexpected event.

Talk: Spend time with your family discussing natural events that may occur in your area. Use simple words that even very young children can understand.

Practice: Practice your family evacuation plan so that during an emergency you can leave quickly and safely. Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. For example, during an earthquake you would want to practice “drop, cover, and hold on” under a sturdy desk or table. During a tornado, you would want to seek shelter in a lower level room without windows.

Respond: Stay as calm as you can, since your reaction is likely to influence how your child responds. If you need to go to a shelter, bring any medications you or your children need. Also, bring small toys that will make them feel at home.

Recover: If appropriate, let children help in clean-up and recovery efforts. This can help to increase their sense of control. Try to get back into normal routines as soon as you can. has a lot of information that can help you make an emergency preparedness plan. And if you have a baby or child with special needs, make sure you read our post Preparing for disasters when you have a child with special needs.

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Planning for a disaster

Monday, May 5th, 2014

storm clouds, hurricaneA disaster is an event that brings an extreme amount of stress into your life. The needs of pregnant women and families with infants during a disaster are unique. You still need to follow any evacuation and preparation instructions given by your state, but there may be some special things to consider if you are pregnant or have an infant.

The March of Dimes and the American Public Health Association (APHA) have teamed up to bring you a series of six fact sheets to help pregnant women and families with infants be prepared in case of an emergency. These fact sheets provide basic, easy-to-read information on what you need to know before, during and after a disaster or other emergency. They include:

You can also learn more about being prepared for a disaster if you are pregnant or if you have a baby on our website.

Being pregnant or caring for a baby can make a disaster even more stressful but getting prepared ahead of time can make things a little easier for you and your family.

Nemo’s coming – are you ready?

Friday, February 8th, 2013

nemoFor those of us who live on the eastern seaboard, winter storm Nemo is getting ready to slam us. My area is supposed to get 14-18” of snow in 24 hours. After the power outages and gas shortages with Hurricane Sandy, many of us are jumpy. Here are a few pointers for getting ready;

• Make sure you have gas in your car
• If you bought a generator after Sandy, make sure you have gas for it
• If you or the kids take medications, have enough on hand for several days
• Get your flashlights out and make sure your batteries are plentiful and charged
• Have enough baby food and diapers on hand for several days
• Got a fireplace? Keep some firewood in a dry place
• Wash your dishes and laundry now, while you still have power
• Keep emergency phone numbers handy, just in case
• Charge your cell phones and computers

You can check out our information on preparing for disaster for more tips.

Keep warm and safe! And won’t we have fun making snowmen later on!