How to Prepare for an Emergency with a Kid

emergency kit for kids, kids emergency kit, emergency kit

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How to prepare for an emergency?  Figuring out what your essentials are and start planning.  There are additional things to think about when you have kids.  In 2016 when all the storms hit we really looked and realized that we did not have supplies for an emergency like that.  Also in our town we had some bad fires in apartment buildings and people were jumping to get out.  They were also having to throw kids out windows to safety.  We realized that although there are 2 exits on our floor if we were stuck we were not prepared.  I wanted to share with you some of the preparations we have done.

The main focus of this article will be about the kids and things you need to consider when planning for emergencies when you have kids.  I will provide basic lists for creating home kits and go bags.  This way you can get all the lists you need in one place.

Fire Emergency

So making sure you have an exit out during a fire is important.  We are lucky in the fact that our condo has exits on both sides of the building.  So if one is blocked we can use the other.  However that would not help us if the fire was in our condo and we could not get to our door.  We live on the 3rd floor and am not a fan of jumping.  Especially now with a toddler I don’t want to attempt to “throw” her to someone.  So we looked at ladders and other tools to help us.

Ladder

We decided on 2 items for our condo.  The first was a ladder (actually two, one for each bedroom) and we got the Kidde 468094 Three-Story Fire Escape Ladder with Anti-Slip Rungs, 25-Foot.  We wanted to make sure it was going to be long enough to get us down 3 floors.  Unfortunately the ladder is a one time use only so we can not practice with that.  The ladders are located near the bedroom windows for easy access.

Rescue Bag

The other item we got was a Baby Rescue Emergency Rapid Evacuation Device – Red.  This is a bag designed for you to put your baby/toddler in and lower them down to the ground.  This way you are not trying to climb down with a scared kid, or having them try to climb down in an emergency.  We do want to practice with this a few times just so she and us are a little used to it.   This is recommended for kids up to 75 lbs but has been tested up to 150 lbs.  It will work for up to 5 stories so is a good option for most apartment and condo buildings.  We have placed this with the ladder we keep in munchkin’s room.

These are kept in munchkin’s room right by the window

Standard Preparations

There are also the normal preparations that we all know about like making sure everyone knows where the exits are.  Making sure you have a meeting spot safely outside, make sure to have at least one fire extinguisher in the house and everyone knows how to use it.  Also please make sure that anyone who watches your child in your home also has this information.  If you have ladders and something like the rescue bag make sure they know about them and where they are kept.  Practice with you kids about once a month so they know what to do if the fire alarm goes off.

Making sure you have working smoke & carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.  We were given a Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Battery Powered (Second Generation) as a baby shower gift.  I am so glad we were.  We ended up buying a second one.  So we have one in our living area and then one back by our bedrooms.  There is an app you can download for your phone to keep an eye on it even when you are away.  When it is time to do your monthly checks you can do it from your app (yes you have to be home when you run the tests).  You tell it to start and it will test both the fire and CO alarms.  If you have more than one it will test each in turn.  If there is a low battery it will tell you at this time OR if the battery gets low before then it will send you an alert.  This helps especially for busy families.

Natural Disaster Emergency

Every area is at risk for different types of natural disasters.  Get know know what yours are.  Where we live we are at risk for earthquakes, high winds that cause power outages and occasional volcanic ash.  Other areas in Alaska are also at risk of tsunamis.  Some disasters need different preparations but for the most part preparations are the same.  Some of the things we looked at was making sure we had supplies for us and the cats if we were stuck at home.  We also looked and realized if we had to evacuate quickly we would not be prepared.  In creating preparations we actually started with making our own kits for at home.  So there are 2 different kinds of kits you should have.  One is a Home Kit and the other is a Go Bag.

Home Kits

A home kit is just that it is a kit for handling an emergency at home.  Most common one is usually a power outage so keeping the supplies for that near the top of your kit is a good idea.  You may be thinking if I am at home why do I need all this stuff.  I mean I am home it is all here … well what if you are trapped in a basement or can’t get to part of your house.  What if you are going to be stuck there for 3 days and you just ran out of toilet paper and were planning on going to the store.  You want to make sure you have what you need at hand to survive for at least 3 days.  If you have the room shoot for 7 days.  Remember you could be without electricity, water, gas … all the fun stuff.

Go Bags

A go bag again is just that, it is a bag to grab if you have to evacuate quickly.  You want at least a 3 day supply of stuff for everyone in the family.  Try to find lightweight options since you might have to carry the bag a ways.  If you have kids let them help pack their go bag and keep it light.  They obviously won’t be able to carry all their supplies but they can carry some.  You want to keep these kits close to the door so if you have like an earthquake and have to evacuate with no notice you can grab and go.

There are a couple extra preparations I suggest when packing your child’s go bag.  Include a family photo with names and emergency information on the back.  The reason for this is if for some reason your child gets separated from you it will help responders.  This way they can see who they are looking for and have the emergency contact info.

Make sure they have like an emergency whistle OR I think a personal alarm like this little lady bug Personal Alarm with LED Flashlight,Self Defense Keychain one would be better.  The reason I think this is because if your child is alone, scared and crying they might not be able to keep blowing a whistle.  At least with the alarm that won’t be an issue.  Also it comes with a little flashlight.  If the lady bug is not appropriate for your child there are other options like this simple Kictero 2 Pack Emergency Personal Alarm Keychain with LED Lights, Survival Whistle.

Home made kits/bags

Not everyone can afford to purchase a pre-made kit and that is perfectly ok.  There are lists out there to help you create your own kit.  The nice thing about making your own is you get items you like to use and can purchase and add as you go.  If you can’t create it all at once, you just buy a bit here and there till your kit is done.  We have 2 home made kits, one for humans & one for the cats.  We need to finish stocking the one for the cats but we have at least started it.  (I will be including links to examples of some of these products)

To create your home made kit you need a container/bag.  We prefer a clear container and lid for our home kit so I can easily see most of what is inside.  Also one thing we did as we added items is wrote on the lid what was in there.  This way we could easily look at the lid to see what we had and what we still needed.  Camping/outdoor stores are your friends for this task.  I will share what we are planning on adding since we need to plan for munchkin.  There are 2 categories I am going to talk about.  You have Essentials and Comfort items.

Now this is my opinion so you may feel other items are more essential or not agree with everything on my list.  That is fine 🙂 you put in what YOU feel you and your family need for your kit.  If possible find items that have multi uses to save on space and money.  Such as Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap – Baby Unscented, this soap works for hands/face/body – shampoo – dish soap – laundry soap and much more.  It comes in different scents and they even have a Dr. Bronner’s 4 oz. Sampler- 5 Piece Gift Set. (5) 4 oz.  This would be great to try it out AND then you have small bottles to go into your kits.

Essentials ~ Home Kit for KIDS

Essentials are those items you really need to have in your kit.  Click here for a printable copy of this list.

These are items you should consider IN ADDITION to your basic emergency home kit.

* Diapers & wipes
* Pull-ups
* Diaper Cream
* Extra clothing (3-4 sets) including shoes, socks & underwear
* Pacifiers
* Formula (consider the premixed stuff since it won’t need water)
* Bottles – the ones with the disposable liners (with a couple nipples)
* Baby cereal/food (consider a package of disposable bibs also)
* Boxed milk especially for toddlers
* Sippy cup
* Couple of books
* Stuffed animal or two
* Blanket
* Pajamas (footie if possible)
* Children’s acetaminophen (Tylenol) & ibuprofen w/dosage on bottle
* Children’s Benadryl w/dosage on bottle (for surprise allergies)
* Gripe Water
* Kid specific hygine items (small nail clippers, nasel bulb, thermometer)
* Pedialyte (if they get sick this can help, it now comes in small powder packets)
* First Aid kit (small one with kid bandaids, anti-bacterial cream, an ice pack)
* Special needs items (sensory blanket, headphones, videos)
* Glasses (maybe stick an old pair, may not be current prescription but is better than nothing)
* Light stick and/or small flashlight

So you may be wondering why both acetaminophen & ibuprofen.  Because many pediatrician’s recommend that you alternate between the two.  Obviously if you can only have one pick which one you think will be more beneficial for your child.  Personally I would pick acetaminophen.

Comfort/additional Items ~ these are very important when it comes to kids

Comfort items are those items that are not needed, but will help make things more comfortable for you and your family.  Again YOU decide what is comfort and what it essential for your kit.

* Small toys
* Games (like card games)
* Activities (coloring, paper activities, puzzles, word finds etc.)
* Slime or playdough – sensory activites as good distraction
* Small notebook
* Snacks
* Food pouches
* Pillow
* Photo album

Essentials ~ Go Bag for KIDS

You want to look for light weight options because you may have to carry your bag.  For things like food, check out the camping stuff for freeze dried options.  Those usually have a good shelf life and are light weight.  If you have more than one go bag just distribute the weight as evenly as possible.  Make sure each person can carry it though.  Consider letting your child choose their own go bag and pack lightweight stuff that they can carry themselves.  Click here for a printable copy of this list.

* Diapers & wipes
* Pull-ups
* Diaper Cream
* Extra clothing (3-4 sets) including shoes, socks & underwear
* Pacifiers
* Formula (might want powder since it is lighter)
* Bottles – the ones with the disposable liners (with a couple nipples)
* Baby cereal/food (consider a package of disposable bibs also)
* Boxed milk especially for toddlers
* Sippy cup
* Couple of books
* Stuffed animal & a blanket
* Pajamas (footie if possible)
* Children’s acetaminophen (Tylenol) & ibuprofen w/dosage on bottle
* Children’s Benadryl w/dosage on bottle (for surprise allergies)
* Gripe Water
* Kid specific hygiene items (small nail clippers, nasal bulb, thermometer)
* Pedialyte (if they get sick this can help, it now comes in small powder packets)
* First Aid kit (small one with kid band aids, anti-bacterial cream, an ice pack)
* Special needs items (sensory blanket, headphones, videos)
* Glasses (maybe stick an old pair, may not be current prescription but is better than nothing)
* Light stick and/or small flashlight
* Emergency whistle/alarm (if our child is carrying their own bag)
* Family Picture with names and emergency info on the back (if your child is carrying their own bag)

You may be asking about the photo with names and information on the back.  We never plan to be separated from our kids during an emergency but things happen.  By including a photo with emergency information on the back this allows first responders to know who they are looking for.  This can also act as a comfort item to your child during the emergency.

Comfort/additional Items ~ these are very important when it comes to kids

Remember this is going in a bag you may have to carry so don’t go overboard.  This is something I struggle with because I tend to want a lot more than I can probably carry.

* Small toys
* Games (like card games)
* Activities (coloring, paper activities, puzzles, word finds etc.)
* Slime or play dough – sensory activities as good distraction
* Small notebook
* Snacks
* Food pouches
* Pillow
* Photo album

Let them help you pack their go bag. Let them pick some of the items that will go into it. This lets them carry some of their own items, and lets them feel useful.  This also helps involve them and gives you a chance to talk about other emergency preparations and things they need to know during an emergency.

For activities you really want lightweight small items to pack so that they don’t take up a lot of room.  Finding ways to help keep your child(ren) occupied and distracted will make an emergency easier on you and them.

Pre-made kits/bags

If you can afford it there are also great pre-made home kits and go bags.  The nice thing about these is most of the work is done for you.  All you need to add are your personal items and any comfort items.  There are only 2 adults and 1 toddler in our house but we got a 4 person go bag for us and the child’s bag.  For our house kit we chose the 5 person kit so we would have more than the 3 day supply.  The home kit doubles as an emergency toilet if needed.
(Click on the images to see the kits we got)

We are planning on getting this add on kit for our go bag so we have a bit more for munchkin (like additional food items)
Munchkin’s go bag

How to prepare for an emergency ~ other considerations

On top of making sure you have a kit for your house and a go bag there are some other considerations.  Get a fire proof safe of any size.  This will give you someplace safe to keep important documents.  You want to make sure you include copies of important papers in your go bag.  These can include social security cards, birth certificates, insurance policies, etc.  One thing to also consider is to scan these items and put a copy on a thumb drive you keep in a fire proof safe.

Video/Photos

You might also include on this thumb drive a video you take of your house.  This can help if you end up needing to file an insurance claim.  Take a video of your house including, electronics, valuables, jewelry, firearms, etc.  This can make claims easier since you have visual proof of what you are claiming was in your house.  If you run a home business with product you want to make sure you have video or pictures of your inventory.  You should also keep a copy of any serial numbers if possible.  Keep a copy in your fire proof safe and/or on the thumb drive.

Comfort Items Ideas

Depending on the age of your child keeping a pack & play with your home kit may be a good idea.  This can be used to keep them safe and give them a place to sleep if needed.  You also might consider a travel high chair for evacuation purposes especially if you will be driving out.  There are a couple options that would work depending on your child.  There is something like the Summer Infant Pop and Sit Portable Booster or Portable Travel Baby High Chair Feeding Booster Safety Seat Harness.

If you are in an area that you might have to walk as a form of evacuation then also consider including a child carrier with your kit.  Even if you don’t normally use one if you think you might have to walk a distance you will be glad you have one.  Also if you live in tornado country a couple people have recommended including bike helmets.  This make sense if you think about it, if things might be flying around having something to protect your head and your child’s head is a great idea.

Restock Card

No matter what kind of kit you are preparing/getting you want to make sure you are rotating out items before they expire.  Go ahead and fill out something like this Restock Card.  You can list items on it that expire and their expiration dates.  This way you can easily check your list every three months or so.  For easy use of your restock card laminate it before using it.  then you can write your items in with a permanent marker, and write the expiration dates in with a dry erase marker.  This way when you pull out items that are about to expire you can easily fill in the new expiration date.

You want to rotate items out before they expire so you can use the items you pulled out.  This way you are not wasting money on items that never get used.  Tape this card to the top of your box on lay on the top of your stuff in your go bag.  This way you can easily get to it and look to see what needs to be rotated out.

For items that do have an expiration date it might help to put stickers on the items with the dates clearly written.  Sometimes finding the dates can be difficult and by putting the sticker with the date easily seen you will make the job easier.

emergency kit, emergency restock card
Sample Restock Card: laminate before using for easier use.

Final Thoughts

Nobody wants to think about a disaster happening to them or their family.  It is not something we want to happen but it is something we can be prepared for.  We will never be completely ready but the more prepared we are the better our chances of survival are.  Making sure you have kits and have talked to y our children about what to do during different emergency situations.

If you can think of something that I did not think about please feel free to comment 🙂  I hope this information helps you to be more prepared if you are ever in an emergency.

emergency kit for kids pin, emergency kit for kids, emergency kids kit, kids emergency kitCheck out my other posts on preparing for emergencies:

* How to Build an Emergency Home Kit

* How to Build an Emergency Go Bag

* How to Build an Emergency Pet Kit

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