Hurricane preparedness is important, but even more so when you've got kids. We've got tips to help your family prepare for a big storm with children.
I've teamed up with Allstate for this post about hurricane preparedness for families with kids.
The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 2015, and although it's expected to be a rather mild storm season, you really just never know. It's been a full decade since a storm has touched down here in Florida - which is almost a record - but that doesn't mean you should get complacent, especially if you have people with special needs in your household - kids included. I think a lot of us know the routine during storm season. The meteorologist predicts a storm, then everyone heads to the store a few days before to gather supplies. Nothing like waiting until the last minute right? Well, now that we have two kids in our household, I realize how important it is to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster. That's why we started early and I put together some tips to ensure you're ready to face the storm if you have young children in your home.
Hurricane Preparedness For Families With Kids
Tip 1: Sure, we all know to gather flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, canned and nonperishable foods, and bottled water (remember, 1 gallon per person/per day), but what if your child is still in diapers? You'll definitely want to have a small diaper stash ready to go in case of an emergency. If you use disposable diapers, having a supply ready at all times may be a challenge as your child grows and you are periodically switching to the next size. Another challenge might be if you're left without power for a long period of time. Perhaps diapers won't be readily available, or you won't be able to travel to get more. This is why I'd recommend having a small stash of cloth diapers on hand. All you'll need are some flats (or flour sack towels) and waterproof covers. The reason I'd suggest flats (which are really just a large, thin square of fabrics that can be folded and laid into a cover to use as a diaper) is because they can be easily hand-washed and they dry quickly just when hanged. Flats and one-size covers can fit most babies from 8-35 pounds, so this will certainly be easier and more cost effective than having a stash of several sizes of disposables in your emergency kit. Just remember to account for washing and have extra water on hand to do so. It's a good idea to fill a bathtub or new garbage can with water to use for things like washing diapers or to flush toilets.
Tip #2: Talk with your child, have a plan, and make that plan a visual aid. If your child is old enough to communicate, it may put their mind at ease to physically see what the plan is, rather than just hear about it. Purchase a poster board or display board and create sections with important/emergency phone numbers, a hand drawn map of where your family will go to take shelter within your home, or where you'll go in case of an evacuation. If your kids are old enough, it may be helpful to assign jobs to each member of the family. That gives everyone something to focus on during an emergency (dad is in charge of food and water, mom is in charge of medications, sister is in charge of gathering flashlights and candles, etc). Another thing to think about is what you'll do if an emergency situation happens when your family is separated. Designate an out of state family member to be a "home base" where everyone calls to check in. Remember, during a storm it may be easier to reach out of state friends or family members or communicate via text messaging as local lines may be tied up.
Tip #3: We live in a technologically crazed society. Most older kids (and even some younger one too!) have their own smart phones or tablets and spend quite a bit of time playing with them. During a storm and possible power outage, your child or children will likely get really bored - especially if it's a prolonged power outage. I'd advise you to create a "busy bin" for your children to keep their minds distracted. Include everything that you can think of to keep them occupied. Some ideas include: crayons and coloring books, construction paper and safety scissors, puzzles, books - maybe even a series of books for older kids, activity pages, board games, flashcards, and building blocks. Don't forget the batteries if your board games require them. The length of time you'll be without power will be unknown, so the more your child has to do to stay busy the less worried they (and you!) will be!
Tip 4: Most importantly, you'll want to stay calm in front of your kids. When you've got small kids to worry about, the last thing you want to do is panic in front on them. That's why you'll want to have everything in place and a plan prepared ahead of time, then you can focus on more important things, like ensuring everyone in your family is accounted for and safe.
Have you experienced a storm with a child?
Do you have any extra tips to share?
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day. Image credit: copyright cromary/Dollar Photo Club.