Hurricane Preparedness for Families with Children and Babies
It's that time of year again! Don't get caught unprepared during hurricane season, especially if you have children and babies! We have compiled a list of must have items to help your family prepare for hurricane season and power outages.
Of course no one wants to be in the path of a hurricane, but for the Gulf Coast and the East Coast of the United States, it's a reality and a possibility that we have to deal with a few months out of every year. Having a good plan in place before a storm can help reduce the anxiety that comes with hurricane season. This can be a great opportunity to let the kids help prepare a family plan. Younger children may have trouble understanding the idea of a hurricane so it can help to talk to them instead about its effects and what to do if you lose power.
Here in Florida the saying is “The first 72 are on you.” Meaning you need to make sure you have supplies for at least the first 3 days after a Hurricane hits. It takes time for local officials to get in volunteers and supplies, so you need to make sure you have what you need ahead of time. Of course you can never be too prepared, but today we are going to look at some ideas for what to have for kids and babies during hurricane season.
Note: This is NOT a complete list of things to do while preparing for a hurricane. Please check the CDC website as well as your local government website in addition to reading this hurricane prep list to make sure you're fully prepared.
Ideas for items to have on hand in case of a storm:
- First and foremost, make sure you have enough water for everyone in your family. The CDC recommends storing at least 1 gallon per person per day for 3 days! So for a family of 4, that’s 12 gallons of water!
- Rechargeable portable bottle warmer. The Baby’s Brew is perfect for warming during a power outage. It can be recharged in your car or using a portable battery.
- Rechargeable battery for charging cell phones, iPads, and of course, your Baby’s Brew!
- Make sure to have a first aid kit with any prescription and over the counter medications.
- Extra formula and baby food because it may be difficult to get to a store when there is damage blocking the roads. Don't forget extra diapers!
- Battery powered or rechargeable fans. The peak of hurricane season is in the hottest months so making sure you have a little airflow can help with uncomfortable temperatures if the power is out.
- Water flavor for picky kids. Obviously not a necessity, but it helps to mix it up and make sure the kids are hydrated.
- Make sure your pantry is stocked with lots of snacks and food you don’t need to cook. Some of our family favorites are pb&j on crackers, goldfish, applesauce and we always keep canned chicken in the pantry.
- Board games, because trust me THEY WILL BE BORED! Some of our family favorites are JENGA and Monopoly.
- Flashlights because they are fun and functional in a power outage. We love rechargeable flashlights like this MAG one so that we don't have to keep a bunch of batteries stocked.
- A battery powered portable radio is good to have so you can get updates on what going on. When the power is out, cellphone towers can be out too and it can be difficult to know what is going on. You'll want to be sure to have a way to find out if there are any tornado or storm warnings without having to rely on your cellphone.
Some extra tips for Hurricane season:
- Have cash on hand. Most businesses can only take cash when they don’t have power. When Hurricane Sally hit Pensacola area last year we didn't have power for a week so we were glad we had some cash so we were able to get our propane tanks filled every other day.
- Fill up your car gas tank just in case you need to evacuate. Anytime there is a storm in the Gulf we like to make sure to keep our gas tanks full.
- Purchase a generator if possible. We have a small dual fuel one that we are able to keep our refrigerator and freezer running. You definitely don’t want to lose that frozen breastmilk supply! Make sure if your power does go out and you have breast milk in your freezer, that you follow proper storage guidelines for use and defrosting. Check out this article for 4 Best Tips for Handling and Storing Breastmilk.
- BBQ’s are great for cooking up all the food you don’t want to spoil. A lesson I learned during Hurricane Sally is to make sure you get a grill that has a gas burner so you can cook outside. We only have electric appliances so they are useless when the power is out.
- Fill up the bathtub for extra water. If the water is out, then you can’t flush the toilet… also bathing may be not possible which brings me to number six….
- Have a good stock of the glorious and multipurpose, baby wipes! If there isn’t running water in the summer heat, you’ll be grateful to be able to wipe yourself and those stinky kids down!
Most important of all, stay safe and evacuate if you are asked to! Make sure to learn where your evacuation routes are before a storm and where local shelters are. Belongings aren't worth risking your life over. Most hurricane related deaths are caused by flooding so if you are in an area thats prone to flooding, please evacuate even if its not mandatory. A hurricane can be traumatizing for small children so making sure to have all that you need and a plan in place can help ease the stress. It's important to appear calm to help give your children a sense of safety and make sure to talk about the storm after with your kids.
Q: What should I pack for baby for a hurricane?
A: When traveling with an infant, make sure you plan for his or her special needs. You’ll need to remember items like formula, baby foods, bottles, baby wipes, and medications for the baby. You may want to pack items like an over-the-counter fever reducer for infants.
Q: What should kids pack for a hurricane?
A: Packing for kids is similar to packing for babies, but you should definitely consider entertainment options, extra clothing, kid friendly canned food and snacks, board games and make sure to charge up all your electronic devices before a possible power outage.
Q: How do you prepare for an emergency with baby?
A: Babies are high maintenance already, even when the family isn’t in survival mode. Don’t worry about the toys for now – just get the necessities: Water, baby food, diapers, powdered formula and clean bottles, wipes.
Q: What is a family emergency kit?
A: An emergency kit has all of the things that you and your family may need during an emergency in which you may have to stay inside for longer than usual or the electricity could go out. Making a family emergency kit can be fun for the family to do together.
Q: What should I put in my 72-hour kit?
A: Humans need 4 basic things to survive – water, food, shelter, and warmth. A 72 hour kit should, at bare minimum, include the following items: 1 gallon of water per person/per day, 3-day supply of non-perishable food, extra clothing/blankets, prescription and non-prescription medicine, first-aid kit, Battery or crank powered radio, tarps and duct tape, flashlight, cash, toilet paper, personal documents/important information.
Q: What is the best emergency survival kit?
A: You can make your own emergency supply kit. There are many extensive checklists online. After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.
Q: What are some good tips for emergency preparation?
A: Make sure you have all important documents and a good emergency kit together before a possible emergency situation. Make sure that you have enough water, food, supplies for at least a few days and gas in your vehicle. Make sure you are in a safe location depending on the type of emergency. This may mean evacuating if it's not safe at your home.
Q: What to do in the event of a hurricane?
A: Make sure that you have an emergency plan in place if you live in a hurricane area. Prepare for the possibility of no power or water for at least 72 hours if not more. Make sure to have a good emergency kit together with important papers and medications. Evacuate if asked to.
Written by: Kristen Bickel
Kristen is a mom of 4 and an employee at The Baby’s Brew.