There are plenty of books on pregnancy, the birthing process, parenting, and raising healthy and well adjusted children. But how do you get your toddler or young children ready for an extended evacuation? With millions of families forced to flee their homes due to a variety of disasters, both natural and man-made, children in these situations are left confused, scared, and unprepared for the evacuation.
As a reader of this website, you don’t need me to lay out all of the many ways the Shumer could hit the fan in your personal life. You have probably thought through different disasters that could affect you personally, and you have planned for them. However, most Americans have not.
In part 1, I went over the first step to getting your children ready for a disaster or evacuation, which is acknowledging that it could happen. Mental preparation requires planning and practice. Part of your practice may involve your child grabbing or carrying his/her pre-prepared bug-out-bag (BoB) or evacuation pack (Evac Pack).
Putting Together An Evac Pack
Most people reading this site have a bug-out-bag. However, in an evacuation situation, you generally will not have to live off the land for 72 hours on your own. It is entirely possible that you could have to in a SHTF scenario. However, in the vast majority of non-SHTF evacuations you will be sheltering at a friend’s or relative’s house or maybe at a government site set up for evacuees. Keep that in mind when making a bug-out-bag, or possibly have a second Evac Pack for evacuation purposes.
For the purpose of making your children an Evac Pack, I will assume that you (the adult) will have a tent and other survival equipment for the family as a whole (if necessary).
Evac Pack Criteria For Young Child
Below are the evac pack criteria we need to satisfy for a young child. A child’s pack should be:
- Lightweight so child is able to carry it,
- Able to meet basic needs,
- Age appropriate, and
Child’s Evac Pack Item Goals
The items I recommend for every child’s bag will help you accomplish the following goals:
- Stay Together,
- Stay Safe, and
- Stay Sane.
Child’s Items To Help You “Stay Together”
The following items are items I recommend for your child’s pack to help you stay together:
- A bright orange backpack is easy to spot and follow in a crowd or in the woods.
- A bright colored poncho not only gets your little one out of the rain but keeps visibility high.
- A survival whistle can be heard from much farther away than the human voice, and this could be invaluable if your child is lost in the woods or a crowd.
- A Glow stick will give off constant light and would be a huge help at night, not only to be able to see your child but also to save flashlight batteries.
- If a child gets lost, a Child ID card with his or her guardian’s name, phone number, and address would be useful information for anyone who finds your child. Family photos can also help reunite your family. Including medical information can be invaluable in this situation as well.
Child’s Items To Help Them “Stay Safe”
I recommend the following items in their evac pack to help your child stay safe:
- A face mask is a necessary item to protect your child from airborne particles and fluid (like a sneeze from your new neighbor at the emergency camp).
- Ten Band-Aids, and four packets of triple antibiotic ointment will help keep those little cuts covered; the ointment may also keep their cuts from becoming true medical emergencies.
- Anti-bacterial hand wipes will help prevent the spread of nasty germs you don’t want your child coming into contact with.
- A space blanket is lightweight and will retain up to 90% of your child’s body heat. This could be a life saver.
Child’s Items to Help You All “Stay Sane”
The following items are recommended for your child’s evac pack to help them stay sane:
- A flashlight that is your child’s alone will do wonders for his or her morale. This give them the comfort of light and being in control of it.
- A set of four crayons and two coloring books will give them something to do while you wait out the disaster, or wait for help to arrive. It will take their mind off the problems you are going through and give them an item to focus on when you need a break.
- Additional personal items, which your child may help you pick out.
Having your child help finish out their bags with personal items will give them a sense of ownership and help increase their feeling of safety and control, should a disaster strike. A basic list to get you started includes:
- Two changes of underwear (diapers if needed),
- Two pairs of socks,
- One pair of sturdy shoes,
- Two pairs of pants,
- Two shirts,
- One season-appropriate hat,
- One season appropriate jacket,
- Two water bottles that they are able to open,
- On-the-go snacks that will give them comfort and energy,
- One packet of baby wipes (for on-the-go “showers”),
- One or two small toys or stuffed animals (for comfort), and
- One toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste.
Add any other items specific to your child and your region. Are you in a hurricane or flood zone? Maybe you need inflatable floaties or a life jacket. Do you live in a wild fire zone? Consider a N-95 mask. Remember you are making this personalized for your child and your potential evacuation scenario.
Practice Using Your Packs and Get Used to Walking
The first thing you need to do after putting together your children’s pack is to make sure they know how to use all of the components. It does them no good to have items in there that they don’t understand or aren’t able to use. After they have mastered turning on the flashlight, blowing the whistle, and learning what the space blanket does, it is time to practice using the items they have in different scenarios.
Have a “blackout” night. Go camping and bring the packs along for some real world use. Quiz them on the numbers they are supposed to know, or go through a scenario with them every week. Tell the younger children a story with “make believe” characters about scenarios you envision you may have to go through. Then when it happens you can say, “Remember when The Black Knight/Princess/Elves had to do this?”
Getting Used to Walking and Hiking
You don’t know how the roads will be where you are going, or if cars will be usable at your evacuation destination. You may have to walk a lot more than you are used to. Getting yourself and your kids used to walking and hiking could save your back and leave you energy for more important tasks. If your child is too small or young to walk on their own, make sure you have a carrier with your Evac Packs and use it regularly.
Integrating preparedness into your lives can make a disaster scenario less shocking for you and less scary for your children. When you have thought about, practiced, and prepared for different disaster scenarios, you acquire peace of mind. This will at the very least help you sleep better at night, and it could save you and your children’s lives. Let this article be a starting point to getting yourself and your children better prepared. If you are lucky and never use this information in real life, at least you got to have some fun with your kids.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 80 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
- An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances.
Round 80 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.