Hurricane Child Safety
When a hurricane strikes it not only leaves a wake of destruction, but also creates a whirlwind of confusion that breaks the peaceful pattern of everyday life. As you go down the checklist of hurricane preparations such as collecting your belongings, or fortifying your home, you might find yourself unintentionally neglecting something incredibly important- your child.
When staring down a hurricane everything seems to move quickly, and although you might be, to some degree, ready for the storm to come, your child may not be. Even though you will keep them nearby during the storm they might have no idea what to do, or even expect, during a hurricane. They might feel fearful or uneasy at the sudden change in events, and need the extra calm and attention that only a parent can provide. Keeping your child informed and at ease with these simple steps will not only protect them during the hurricane, but will also help them be prepared for the events to follow.
Have an Evacuation Plan
Although evacuation is not necessary for every hurricane, it is prudent to always have a route and an end destination in mind. Whether it’s grandma’s house or a city storm shelter, make sure everyone is aware of when and where to be, and how to get there. Have your child make a list of essentials he or she will need for both long-term and short-term trips. Keep emergency supplies, such as a first aid kit, food, bottled water, flashlights, and batteries, in a family hurricane kit. Make sure to include any family pets in these plans as well.
Know Where is Safe
If evacuation has not been deemed necessary, and you and your family will be at home during the hurricane, locate the safest area in your home. This should be an area with no windows on the lowest level of your home, in a structurally sound, small area such as a closet or bathroom. Make sure all windows are closed and boarded up, and that all doors are reinforced. Have a house map handy with safe spots marked.
During the course of the storm the most hazardous place to be is outside. Heavy winds, flood waters, and even tornados can occur during a hurricane. Even if the storm seems to have died down, or stopped altogether, dangerous debris such as downed power lines or broken glass could be present. The eye of the hurricane, which is the central, deceptively peaceful middle of the storm, is often times mistaken for the storm’s end. Make sure your children stay inside at all times, and provide them with activities to keep them occupied and distracted from the chaos outside.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Despite the turbulence that accompanies the arrival of a hurricane, it is vital to retain a sense of normalcy. When you panic, your child panics, and when your child panics, you panic- a vicious cycle that will only result in unnecessary terror. Lead by example, and show your child how to handle a storm in a calm and collected manner. Try to stay as close to your daily routine as possible to prevent the inside of your house from matching the chaos happening outside.
Your children look to you for protection and guidance, and by setting a good example of how to be safe during a hurricane you can help them protect themselves.