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Prepping/preventing with children

31. August 2023

Crisis situations pose great challenges. This is all the more true when children are involved. Different precautions must be taken depending on the age of the children.
Families with children are exposed to particular dangers and challenges in crisis situations. Children must already be involved in the preparatory measures and in the planning so that everything can proceed as orderly as possible in the event of a crisis.

The following points should be considered when planning:

In which crisis situations does it make sense to stay at home, when should the home be left (so-called “bug out”)?
Mobility: What options are there for getting around with children?
– What are the physical needs of the children?
– Are there any special medical care requirements for the children?
– How can it be ensured that the child is not psychologically and emotionally overwhelmed by the crisis situation?

Basically, the advice to be considered for prepping with children is the same as for prepping overall: Proper equipment and sufficient food and water supplies are important. In addition, advance planning for different scenarios and situations is essential.
If one or more children are involved, things get more complicated because children have their own requirements. This is even more true in crisis situations.

Surviving the crisis situation at home or better to “Bug Out”?

In many cases, the safest option is to remain within one’s own four walls in the event of a crisis or disaster. This is even more true when children, and especially young children, are involved, as they are best cared for at home and may limit mobility in the event of an escape.
Therefore, part of planning should be to consider whether an escape is really necessary, depending on the crisis scenario. If a bug out cannot be avoided, it should be clear in what way movement can be accomplished. For example, carrying equipment can be helpful to transport the child.
It is also advantageous if a ready-packed escape backpack is also available for the child. Children who are old enough should learn how to pack an escape backpack and how to ensure that its contents are complete.

What is a bug-out plan?

A Bug Out Plan is a planned course of action that identifies what to do if a person or group of people is forced to leave a dangerous or unsafe location, whether due to a natural disaster, war, or other crisis situation. Such a plan can be customized based on specific needs and circumstances, but in general, the following elements might be included in a bug out plan:

Goals and Priorities: The plan should make clear what goals should be achieved and what priorities should be set. For example, this could include keeping the family safe, gathering important documents and supplies, or reaching a pre-determined meeting place.

Communication: a communication plan should be established to ensure that everyone involved knows how to communicate with each other. This could include exchanging phone numbers, using radios, or using special communication devices.

Evacuation Route: The plan should include a pre-planned evacuation route that leads to a safe location. The route should be carefully planned and periodically reviewed to ensure it is current and takes into account alternate routes.

Supplies and Equipment: The plan should identify what type of supplies and equipment will be needed to successfully complete the evacuation. These may include food, water, medications, clothing, money, sleeping bags, tools, and other items necessary for survival.

Resources and Contacts: It may be helpful to make a list of important resources and contacts that can be contacted in the event of an emergency. This could include doctors, shelters, supply centers, or other relief organizations.

Schedule: It may be useful to establish a timeline that indicates when certain steps should be taken. This can help better organize the evacuation and ensure that everyone involved is on the same page.

It is important to note that a bug out plan should be customized to meet specific needs and circumstances. Each plan may contain different elements depending on whether it is a short-term evacuation or a long-term survival situation.

Paying attention to the physical needs of the children in the emergency supply

The physical needs of the child depend on its age. For example, infants need long-lasting baby food, while older children already need many of the long-lasting food products on offer.
Some long-life foods are not suitable for children, pregnant women or nursing mothers. When choosing products, pay attention to appropriate instructions.
Essential is the supply of a sufficient amount of water
The water needed for preparing dried meals and for baby food must also be included here. Three to six liters of water per person per day should be included. Children must also be taken into account.

Important: It must be taken into account that sufficient supplies of medicines and bandages are needed for the entire family. Here, too, the needs of the children must be taken into account – for example, if they suffer from chronic diseases or require special medication or if allergies exist.

Psychological and emotional stability in crisis situations with children

-To protect children emotionally and psychologically even before a crisis or disaster situation occurs, the most important thing is proper communication. Children should be regularly told why emergency supplies are important and how it can help them and their family. It is important to mention potential dangers and emphasize that the point is to be prepared and not to panic.

-The manner in which communication with children should be done depends on the age of the children. Young preschool children should be introduced to emergency preparedness and crisis preparedness in a fun way. The older the children are, the more information they may receive about the background and risks. Older children in their teens are usually able to be completely initiated and also play a supporting role in preparations and in a possible crisis situation.

-It can help to give children tasks that are appropriate to their age and abilities. This might include packing a personal emergency backpack or learning basic first aid.
-Basic safety procedures should be practiced with children on a regular basis. These include, for example, putting out a fire, making an emergency call, or finding their way in unfamiliar terrain. Regular practice of such skills can build children’s confidence.

-Emotional support is equally important. It is helpful to create a safe and reassuring environment in which the children can talk about their fears and concerns. Children’s questions should be answered sympathetically, patiently and as fully as possible – as far as the children’s age and maturity allow.

-Finally, children should be helped to build their psychological resilience. This can be done by encouraging positive thinking patterns. Children should know strategies to cope with stress and be encouraged to express their feelings.

-Children gain stability in crisis situations if they are able to maintain certain routines and routines. These can include regular meals, getting dressed and undressed, personal hygiene, as well as opportunities to learn and take classes. All of these serve as anchors for children in an otherwise dynamic or perhaps even chaotic environment.

Prepping for children makes special demands – on the parents, but also on the children themselves. In addition to physical needs, psychological and emotional factors must be taken into account. Involving your children in the preparations from the very beginning helps them to cope better in a crisis, to remain calm and to make a valuable contribution to the well-being of the group.