Keeping Baby Safe During a Disaster
Last night, several tornadoes touched down in our state and caused great amounts of damage. Tornadoes are somewhat rare where we live now, but we do get our share of hurricanes.
All of this made me wonder about my disaster plan–something the locals take quite seriously here. I confess I really don’t have one, which is probably not the best thing as I have an infant and 4 other children.
While researching disaster relief last night, I discovered that in the aftermath of a disaster when chaos is rampant, there is little emphasis on extra care for those who have infants or who might be pregnant. It’s best to have a plan already created just in case.
If you have a high risk pregnancy, discuss these plans with your doctor. The military hospital where I went for care during my high risk pregnancy actually had a plan for dealing with difficulties like mine during hurricanes. They would allow women to come and stay at the hospital during the disaster so that if something happened, the baby and the mother would have access to medical care. If you live in a hurricane prone area, chances are your area has something similar to this. Make sure to ask if you are expected to bring your own food and/or other supplies.
If you are pregnant and your pregnancy is not a risky one, be sure to pack your vitamins or other medications you may need. Also realize that you may need more food or water than the average person because of your pregnancy. Plan on adding extra food and water to your emergency kit. Also write down important phone numbers such as the doctor and hospital phone number just in case. The phones may or may not work, but you are prepared at least.
If you have an infant with health problems, check with your child’s doctor for advice. Would you and your child be able to stay at a local hospital to ride out the storm? What would he suggest? Would it be better to evacuate early and stay somewhere else near a hospital? If so, could the doctor give you a referral?
My husband and I decided that we’d evacuate even in the case of a moderate hurricane due to the fact that we have handicapped children who have health issues and also because we have a large family. Just the amount of water and food we’d need to survive is staggering! We plan to stay with relatives and return to our home after the situation has stabilized when the storm has passed. Hopefully, we’ll never need to put our plans into action.
If you decide not to evacuate, plan on having at least 3 days of supplies on hand to provide for your family until the disaster relief organizations can get to the area to assist. It’s a good idea to plan for more than 3 days. When the last major hurricane hit our area, it took about a week for the disaster relief organizations to get set up and begin assisting according to our neighbors.
In your disaster kit, make sure to have baby supplies such as extra diapers, formula, bottled water and baby food. My mother in law bought us a baby food warmer with an attachment so that you could use it in a car–just in case.
When planning for a disaster, it’s best to prepare your car too. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before the storm hits, and make sure your vehicle is in good repair.
I really hadn’t put too much effort into planning before last night, mostly because thinking of disasters really stresses me out! Who needs more stress? The thought occurred to me last night that a disaster can happen in a moment and will happen, whether I am prepared or not. My lack of planning and preparation will just make it that much more difficult for my family to get through the emergency. Now that’s a stressful thought. I may not be able to control Mother Nature, but I can at least prepare my family to deal with what she might toss our way.