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Preparing Children for Disaster

PALESTINE, April 8, 2013--Children need to be prepared for a disaster as much as adults, if not more so.  For infants and toddlers, special emphasis should be placed on making their environment as safe as possible.

Cribs and beds should not be placed near windows or unsecured furniture, such as bookcases and shelves that could topple.

A minimum of a 72-hour supply of extra water, formula, bottles, food, juices, clothing, disposable diapers, baby wipes, and prescribed medications should be stored where it is easily accessible after an emergency.  In addition, keep an extra diaper bag with these items in your car.

Store strollers, wagons, and cribs with appropriate wheels to evacuate infants if necessary.

Install bumper pads in cribs and bassinettes to protect babies during any shaking in a disaster.

Install latches on all cupboards, not just those that young children can reach,  so that nothing can fall on your baby or toddler during a disaster.

At approximately the age of three, children can begin to understand about fires and floods; they can also begin to understand how to get ready for them.  Take the time to explain what causes these types of emergencies, using terminology they will understand.  Include your children in family discussions and planning for emergency safety.  Conduct drills and review safety procedures every six months.

In each room, show children the safest places to be when a disaster occurs being sure to point out all possible exits.

Use sturdy tables to teach children to DUCK, COVER, and HOLD during a disaster.

Make sure that children are ready to protect themselves with STOP, DROP, and ROLL in case of a fire.  In addition, practice emergency exit drills in the house regularly.

Teach children what to do when an emergency occurs no matter their location (at school, in a tall building, outdoors).

Keep emergency information up-to-date at schools.

Although children should not turn off any utility valves, it is important that they know what gas smells like and for them to tell an adult anytime they smell it.

This information has been provided by the Palestine Resource Center for Independent Living,

421 Ave. A., Palestine, Texas, 903-729-7505. 

© 2017 Tomlinson-Leis Communications L.P.