How should I prepare my child for a natural disaster or emergency?

When discussing possible natural-disaster scenarios, parents should use concrete examples. Separation from a parent during a disaster can be a distressing concept for children. Identify a neighbor with whom a child can stay during an emergency. All family members should have the phone number of an out-of-town contact to communicate through in case the local telephone service is disrupted. Include these telephone numbers, as well as any special medical information, on an identification card that the child keeps in a wallet or school backpack.

You can take steps to plan for an emergency by preparing children for the possibility that they will be separated from their parents during an emergency and how to take care of themselves until the family is reunited. Creating a disaster plan, having a family communication plan in place and reinforcing the plans regularly are very important.

Any child who can use the phone should be able to call 9-1-1. Make sure children know the names of any medications they take, their home phone number and their parents’ cell phone numbers, or keep that information on them at all times.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.