Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.
Being Prepared for Emergencies With Kids
More and more, we are seeing natural and manmade disasters destroying the lives of families in the world. It is said that from 2017 and on, more of these events are to occur. Seeing and hearing about it so much, you would think everyone would be absolutely prepared if a disaster were to strike. Yet statistics say that very few people are truly prepared.
Are you prepared for a disaster? It is vital to have emergency supplies on hand for your family! Here are some ideas of what to have ready for young children or babies.
Emergency Kit Supplies
FEMA, on their site Ready.gov, has prepared a list of items a family should have in a kit in case of emergency. Those items include the basics: 3 gallons of water per person, non-perishable food, first aid kit, flashlight, and other ‘recommended’ items like disposable cups, bowls, or spoons (for the full list, check out Ready.gov). All are well and good, but I have two children under the age of three at the moment, so I’d like to be extra prepared for their nutritional and sanitary needs.
Under their list of additional items to consider, FEMA includes the following in regards to children: infant formula and diapers, books, games, and other activities for children. That’s it. As a mom, I can tell you that should not be it!
Buying Emergency Supplies
Shopping Tip: Each time you go shopping for your regular essentials, choose one thing off of the list to buy. Look for coupons or deals for each item. That way, you are not spending a lot of money on just one shopping trip and you are stocking up on the things you really need.
Emergency Water Supply
Every time you go grocery shopping, buy a gallon of water. One gallon is approximately $0.50-$1.00, so it's not a huge expense as opposed to buying all of your essential water at the same time.
If you make 1 grocery trip a week, you will have 4 gallons of water in a month. In one year, you will have 52 gallons of water. If in an emergency every person needs 3 gallons of water to survive, each person in a family of four would have 13 gallons of water, which is more than four times the recommended amount.
Emergency Supply Lists
Thinking of a typical day with my children, I thought of all the items I would need to keep them healthy, safe, and happy. Here’s a list for babies, toddlers, and young children:
1. Formula—powdered or premixed. I would store the premixed since it wouldn’t require extra water to mix it and it would lessen the chance of contamination/illness since it would be a one-time use item. Many of the formula brands have smaller premixed bottles or containers that you simply open and put on a one-time use nipple on it. It would be a tad on the expensive side, but it doesn’t have to be bought all at once. (If you were/are able to breastfeed, this shouldn’t be an issue for you. Some, unfortunately, are unable to do so.)
2. Purified infant water. This can be used if powdered formula is used and for mixing with baby cereal and juice.
3. Baby cereal/food. This can be the standard cereal in the box or I recently came across freeze-dried baby food by NurturMe. NurturMe comes in small, environmentally friendly packets, so it is easy to store and is single-use. You just mix it with water, formula, or breast milk.
4. Maintenance fluids. I would say having a bottle or two of maintenance fluids, like Pedialyte, probably wouldn’t be a bad thing. If my children somehow had a stomach virus or became ill during a disaster, I’d like to be able to keep them hydrated. Water isn’t always recommended for babies since it could negatively affect their systems if given too much, but a tiny amount of Pedialyte would help balance their systems. The company even sells it powdered in small packets so it could be mixed with the purified water and not take up that much space.
5. Bottles, nipples, and sippy cups. These are necessary for fluid nourishment. If they need to be cleaned, they can be boiled for a few minutes in a small amount of water.
6. Diapers. These you can get in bulk and keep in a dry space. Keeping them in a plastic airtight container might be a good idea as well (Pampers sells some of theirs in plastic storage bins now…). Cloth diapers may not be such a good idea in a disaster since you may not have the ability to clean them as well, but it wouldn't hurt to have some of those on hand as well.
7. Diaper cream. I would not want to be dealing with diaper rash in the middle of a crisis. A tube or tub of the stuff would suffice.
8. Hand sanitizer. And plenty of it! Unless you’re in a shelter with a full-sized stocked bathroom with soap and water, you might want to have some sanitizer with you. Think of the diapers you’ll be changing…
9. Thermometer. This might already be in a first aid kit, but it wouldn’t hurt to have one in case your little one feels warm.
10. Medicines, prescriptions, or like a fever reducer. I know some parents may not agree, but I'd definitely want to have a fever reducer with me. Ear infections, teething, or other such maladies could cause children to have fevers. While the fever reducer won’t necessarily cure the illness, it would definitely help keep the children comfortable.
11. Extra clothes than recommended. FEMA recommends having a set or two extra of clothes, but I’d store more than that. Think of all the outfit changes you go through in just one day, and not because of the style! Diaper blowouts (ew, I know…), spit up—all the fun stuff that would cause a parent to change an outfit. Again, unless you have access to a laundry room, you won’t exactly be able to just wash the clothes you have. And don’t forget the outfits needed for the seasons! Hats, coats, shoes/boots…and the list goes on.
Extra Emergency Supplies
There are some items I wouldn’t necessarily store but have on hand or know where they are in case of emergency. Some parents might not even own some of these items, but if you do, you could consider:
1. Play yard. I have a dirt basement, and if that’s where I’ll be retreating in case of emergency, I don’t exactly want my children to sleep on the dirty, damp floor. Most models fold up easily (mine is currently in my living room for the baby) and don’t take up that much space.
2. Baby carrier/backpack. Another relatively easy to grab and use item. If, for whatever reason, my family had to travel by foot to a shelter or other such place, I’d like to have my baby backpack with me. It’d keep baby close and warm while freeing up my hands to carry other necessities.
3. Small, lightweight umbrella stroller. If in the event we need to travel by foot, having an umbrella stroller would be handy. If not used to transport the children, it can be used to transport other necessities.
4. Backpack/rolling suitcase. These can be used to store and transport items easily.
Be Prepared for a Disaster
- Have a basic family emergency kit.
- Store items necessary for babies and young children to keep them nourished, healthy and safe.
- Consider some useful extra baby/kid items.
- Be prepared!
What Do You Have in Your Emergency Kit?
I might have missed some things. If you can think of anything else to add, let me know! Thanks. :)
Do You Have an Emergency Kit?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Marissa
Marissa (author) from United States on November 01, 2012:
partypail, thanks for the comment! It's all stuff that I myself need to have on hand, so I thought it'd be helpful for others with little ones as well. :)
PartyPail from www.partypail.com on October 30, 2012:
wonderful hub! You've put together an extremely useful resource. voted up, thanks for sharing.
Marissa (author) from United States on November 20, 2011:
Phil Plasma, you're right; it would be useful if parents with young children were prepared before something happens, especially since they are most likely to be tired or preoccupied to gather things after something happens. Thank you for reading and commenting! :)
Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on November 19, 2011:
It's great you posted this list - someone with a young child is likely to be tired or preoccupied to know about all of the items you've listed. Voted up and useful.
Marissa (author) from United States on August 24, 2011:
Cassidella, I'm glad you found these to be wonderful suggestions and I appreciate that you shared this with friends. Thanks so much!
Cassidella on August 24, 2011:
This hub has wonderful suggestions for parents of young children to be prepared for disasters. I rated it up and shared with friends!
Marissa (author) from United States on August 08, 2011:
paypalku, I appreciate that you like my hubs. Thanks for reading !
paypalku from Yogyakarta on August 07, 2011:
I always preparing my emergency tools for my daughter. I like your hubs.
Marissa (author) from United States on July 06, 2011:
Thank you very much for your comment, Kathleen Cochran. I'm glad I found HubPages now that I'm a stay at home mom; it helps connect me to the outside world when I'm here inside with the kids! :)
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on July 06, 2011:
This hub is a must-read for all parents, especially those with very young children. Good work.
Wish I'd had an outlet like hubpages when I was a stay at home mom. What a great creative tool! Looking forward to more of your hubs.
Marissa (author) from United States on June 30, 2011:
I'll have to take a look at the list. Thanks again!
Debbie Carey from Riverton, KS, USA on June 29, 2011:
The outpouring of support from individuals, communities and major companies has be tremendous. I think now it is just actual helping hand to move debris and get things cleaned up at homes which have surface damage that is the only real needs. The Red Cross has lists of actual specific needs I believe. Thanks! God Bless!
Marissa (author) from United States on June 29, 2011:
prektjr.dc, thank you for sharing that information about Joplin. Do they still need those items? It's so important to have these things ready, and I completely agree with the closed toe shoes. To walk in the debris with just flip flops is not safe nor sanitary. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Debbie Carey from Riverton, KS, USA on June 29, 2011:
Good information...With the tornado in Joplin we have found that the hand sanitizer, formula and diapers were the items most desperately needed at first along with gloves and closed toe shoes. In a disaster, flip flops are NOT a good idea...even for children. I love the baby backpack idea, but a front carrier might be better as it might help a parent hold onto an infant, too.
Marissa (author) from United States on June 02, 2011:
Thanks again, SharkFuel, for your insightful comment! :)
SharkFuel on June 02, 2011:
You are absolutely right,ThePracticalMommy, that unfortunately a few only people are truly prepared for emergency and don't know what to do when emergency happens. It should be noted that basic knowledge may be enough to change the situation for the better and minimize negative consequences a great deal.
Marissa (author) from United States on May 30, 2011:
Sharkfuel, thanks for your comment! I'm really hoping to help parents with my tips and advice--things that I actually do in my own parenting life. :)
SharkFuel on May 30, 2011:
Very useful parenting tips and recommendations. This hub contains a lot of information that is extremely helpful for people, who are going to become parents and existing parents as well. The number of comments left by readers here can confirm this fact completely.
Marissa (author) from United States on May 20, 2011:
JamaGenee, thanks for bringing up the point of the the bottled water going "bad" and for the tip about bottled infant water. They are important to consider when thinking about the health of our little ones!
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on May 19, 2011:
Obviously, the people at FEMA don't have small children or infants! That said, be aware that bottled water CAN and WILL go "bad" if stored for an extended period. I had no idea, either, until a friend went to work for a bottled water company. Don't remember the exact time. Several weeks? A couple of months? Something like that.
And this may come as a shock, but bottled water - even labeled as specifically for infants - is just water out of the tap of whatever city it's bottled in. To be on the safe side and to forego the expense of buying bottled water, periodically boil however much water you think you'll need, cool, and store in sealed **glass** containers. Replace on a regular basis.
Marissa (author) from United States on May 04, 2011:
Ez Kay, thanks for reading and leaving a comment! I'm always happy to share. :)
Ez Kay on May 04, 2011:
Nice piece of information you actually shared in here,thanks for sharing.
Marissa (author) from United States on May 02, 2011:
Thanks for the vote and for reading, glogeousmom!
Glo L Bernadas from Philippines on May 02, 2011:
Congratulations! Voted up.
Marissa (author) from United States on May 02, 2011:
It really was an honor to be nominated. :) Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!
Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 02, 2011:
Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. This is a great list. You have some great additions to the lists I have seen online. We would all be wise to have emergency kits prepared and ready.
Marissa (author) from United States on April 30, 2011:
Ripplemaker: Thanks for reading! And yes, I saw my email; I'm sooo excited!!! I really appreciate the nomination. :)
Silver Poet: It certainly is useful to think ahead, especially when there are young children involved! Thank you very much for your comment and for reading!
Silver Poet from the computer of a midwestern American writer on April 30, 2011:
It's useful to think ahead. I know last winter during a snowstorm a mom came on a radio show asking the public to plow her out because she had no food in the house for her two kids. I remember thinking that she knew the snowstorm was coming because the TV news had been announcing it for days, so why didn't she stock up? Didn't make sense. Thanks for the hub.
Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on April 30, 2011:
It is best to be ready and prepared. Thanks for this hub!
Have you read your email? I will have to inform you now that your hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets! go, go, go and visit this thread to check it out! https://hubpages.com/forum/topic/74305#post1612647
Marissa (author) from United States on April 09, 2011:
Thank you for reading and the extra advice. Good luck with your baby!
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on April 09, 2011:
My wife is pregnant with our first child this is a useful hub for parents.
I also read that it's best to prepare food and water for at least 3 days. I would also suggest lots of garbage bags to place nappies and other trash items, we don't want to add filth to an already dismal situation. You should also place your emergency bag where everyone can easily pick it up. We are also advised to have a meeting place should our family get separated during an evacuation.
Great hub, thank for the info.