As we head further into hurricane season, it’s a great idea to start preparing your family and loved one for an emergency. While emergency kits are widely available for order or purchase, your growing family with small kids (or possibly even pregnant mothers) requires different preparation and additional items. Consider these five suggestions when preparing for hurricane season this year:
Emergency Kit: Families with Infants and young children should have additional items packed in their emergency kits. Think about diapers, wipes, bottles, close-toed shoes for everyone in the family, and go through your kit often to make sure its up-to-date. You don’t want to realize during an emergency all the spare shoes or diapers are two sizes too small for all your kids!
Feeding the Baby: Make sure momma (or mom to be!) has plenty of food and water stashed away in the emergency kit. If a nursing woman is stressed, dehydrated, or hungry, she’s at risk for losing her milk supply. If momma loses her milk, baby will lose their food supply. Also, pack your pump if you prefer to pump for bottle feeding.
Alternatively, it’s understandable that some moms are not able to breastfeed, so please make sure to pack plenty of formula in the emergency kit.
Medical records for everyone in the family: Vaccination records for newborns, Prenatal records for pregnant women, medical records for any sick family members should all be requested from the appropriate doctors and stored in the emergency kit. Make sure these records are updated at least annually in hurricane prone locations.
Hospital bag: If you or your partner are expecting a baby in the late summer or early fall, and you live in a hurricane prone area, you may want to request a copy of your health records from your OBGYN to add to your hospital bag. This way you will have all of your prenatal records handy if evacuations force you to a new hospital and doctor. Also make sure you pack close-toed shoes, extra change of clothes, and your prenatal vitamins.
Create a Plan: Learn the evacuation plans for your kid’s school or daycare. Communicate a meet-up plan and practice the plan with all family members. Upon an approaching storm, know the nearest shelter locations and have full tank of gas in your vehicles. Pregnant mothers should have a list of hospitals and birthing centers near the shelters or on the evacuation route.
More helpful tips on preparing families for a hurricane are available on this handy PDF from the American Public Health Association. Or visit the ready.gov website for additional information on how to build an emergency kit or make a plan.