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Hurricane season is off to a strong start with Tropical Storm Andrea poised to strike the coastal south of the United States, and potentially spawn tornadoes. That's why we're providing disaster preparedness tips to help parents across America keep their children safe when disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes strike.
"Disasters can cause fear, anxiety and stress in children that can last long after the initial impact," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. "That's why we have to do everything we can to minimize the emotional effect of such traumatizing events on children, who are the most vulnerable during emergencies, and provide the support they need."
In addition to basic survival items such as water, a flashlight and a battery-powered radio, families with children need to include kid-friendly supplies in their emergency kits. Based upon Save the Children's years of domestic and international experience of coming to the aid of children in emergencies, these tips can be used as a guide for parents to support their loved ones in the event of a crisis.
Save the Children Disaster Checklist for Families
- Comfort Items: Stuffed animal, doll, pacifier or blanket
- Personal Hygiene: Baby wipes, feminine products, diapers, nursing pads
- Children's Activities: Books, puzzles, games
- Infant Nutrition: Nursing supplies, formula, pre-packaged baby food
- Medical Needs: Infant/child fever reducer, rash ointment
- Family meet-up: Pick a safe spot to meet if separated such as a local school or library
- Out-of-towner: A family contact who would not be affected by a local disaster
- ICE: Cell phones should have "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) programmed into their contacts
- Text: Text messages can often get through, even when a phone call can't
- Contact school or day care: Ensure they know what your child is supposed to do in case of an emergency
- Identification: Write down your child's name and your contact information on a notecard and keep it with your child
Based upon years of domestic and international experience of coming to the aid of children in emergencies, Save the Children has developed guidance for families to support their loved ones in the event of a crisis. Parents can use these tips to help their children feel safe.
10 Tips to Help Kids Cope with DisastersLimit TV time: Intense media coverage of disasters can frighten young children and disturb teenagers.Listen: Find out your child’s concerns about the situation. Children often cannot give meaning to a dangerous situation. Begin a dialogue to help them gain a basic understanding that’s appropriate for their age.Comfort: Let them know their safety is your top priority.Be Aware: Changes in routine behaviors, such as sleeping pattern or eating habits, can indicate distress. Seek professional support if they persist.Expect the unexpected: As children develop, their intellectual, physical and emotional capacities change.Make time: Help kids understand they are safe and secure by talking, playing and engaging in bonding family activities.Keep calm and carry on: Your child will learn how to deal with these events from you and will model his or her behavior after yours.Care: Make a point of showing sensitivity toward other families impacted by the disaster. This is an opportunity to teach your children that we all need to help each other.Routine: Help your children return to normal activities including school, sports and play groups.Volunteer: Helping others can give your child a sense of control, security and empathy.