Disasters or emergencies may leave children frightened and confused. It’s important to pay close attention to children during emergencies and to help them cope with their emotional responses. Children will often take cues from adults, so make sure you remain calm and reassuring. Listen to children’s concerns and help them understand what they can do to stay safe.
Teach Your Children
- Develop a family communications plan so that your children know what do in different emergency situations.
- Teach your children basic personal information and ensure that they know their home address and family phone numbers in case they need to identify themselves or contact out-of-town relatives.
- Make sure your children know your designated meeting place in case of an emergency or if you become separated.
- Practice your evacuation and emergency specific plans on a regular basis.
Prepare a Go Bag
In case of an emergency, prepare a small backpack for your child with the following items:
- Updated contact information
- Medication and medical info
- Recent photographs of the child
- Comforting food and snacks
- Comforting objects like blankets or toys
- Games, books or activity items
Preparation for Childcare Providers
- Child care professionals are often the first to respond in a disaster when children are in their care. They need to keep calm and move quickly, while attending to all the children in their custody.
- Parents and guardians should maintain updated emergency contact information with their children’s nursery, school, babysitter, clubs and teams.
- Have a communication strategy that includes vital records for all children, including medical needs and contact numbers for parents and guardians.
- Practice different types of emergency drills with all students to help familiarize them with necessary steps for specific events.
Support Your Children
- Limit exposure to extensive media following a disaster, as the images or reports may be particularly upsetting to young children.
- After an emergency, make sure that children have someone to talk to. Whether it's family, friends, community or faith-based organizations, having support will help them cope with their experiences.
Downloadable information to help your family start preparing for an emergency can be found below.