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Posted on April 18, 2022 at 11:27 AM by Kari Bray
This is Part 8 in a multi-week series of blogs focused on the ABCs of Healthy Kids. Learn more at www.snohd.org/healthykids.
Consider the types of emergencies that can happen in your household – medical, accidents, fires – and make sure children know what to do. Take time to learn about the hazards you live with in Snohomish County, and make plans for if you need to shelter in place or if you need to evacuate. Don’t just plan for emergencies. It's helpful to know the steps you will take when you become overwhelmed as a parent or caregiver, too.
We know you can’t plan for everything, especially when you add children to the mix – they are lovable wild cards.
However, you can build some key plans for your family to better prepare for what life throws at you. Being clear with children around these plans can help prevent dangerous consequences in the event of a household or larger emergency.
Not everyone is a planner by nature, but there are some plans every family should make. Try to review and practice them together.
Here is what we’ll talk about in this blog:
If there were a fire at home, would your children know what to do? What happens if you lose consciousness due to a medical emergency or accident?
Think about the types of emergencies that can happen at home, then have a conversation with your children about what to do. Questions to consider include:
There are various hazards in Snohomish County, as well as potential impacts from national or global emergencies. You may face an emergency such as an earthquake, a significant wind or snow storm, or major flooding. We’ve also seen over the last couple of years how an international emergency – in this case a pandemic – impacts our local communities.
Take the time to consider what your family would need if you had to shelter in place for a while, or if you needed to evacuate. Questions to ask as you shape your plan include:
Disasters aren’t the only thing to plan around. Too few parents and other caregivers talk about the emotional emergencies, when you become overwhelmed and feel you are reaching a breaking point.
Planning for when you become overwhelmed is particularly important for new parents, but can be useful with older children, too.
Babies and children are going to cry, have tantrums, break things, refuse to let you rest – and sometimes, no matter what you do, you can’t get them to calm down. This can wind you up, too.
Don’t let these high-stress situations become dangerous. An overwhelmed, exhausted caregiver may not be gentle enough with a baby or small child. They may lose their temper and cause harm. It’s easy to say you would never do anything to hurt your child, but it’s best to have a plan for when you get overwhelmed so you are able to keep that promise. Your partner or others who care for the child should have a plan, too.
A plan can help you stay calm if you’ve tried everything and your child is still having a meltdown. It may change as your child grows, but the basics hold true. Write out your steps and put them somewhere you’ll remember. An example of an emotional emergency plan is:
Be clear about expectations with other caregivers, too – physically taking out frustrations on a child is never OK, and can cause permanent harm or even be fatal. Make sure anyone who will be responsible for your child has a way to reach you, and that they know they can call you whenever needed.
You can’t always make a baby stop crying or calm a child’s tantrum. When you’ve tried everything, and you don’t know what else to do, give yourself a pat on the back for trying your best. Remind yourself that every breakdown or temper tantrum will pass, even if it feels endless in the moment.
Take some time now to check off the “H” in the ABC’s for healthy kids. Does your family have a plan?
Consider the plans you should have for a household emergency, a larger emergency, or when you are overwhelmed.