When it comes to planning your food storage and other emergency supplies, there are some groups that need special consideration. Can you guess which they are?
Today, let’s take a look at some special needs of babies and children.
When you have a baby or children in your family, there are things you need to keep in mind as you are preparing for an emergency.
Different Things to Store:
First, there may be other special foods you need for a baby or a child. If you are breastfeeding your young baby, you’re in terrific shape with plenty of food for your baby. Nursing stimulates the body to produce more breastmilk, so baby will have plenty. Breastmilk is the best food for a baby up until the middle of the first year, or until there are signs of readiness for solids. Even after that point, having breastmilk can help your child or baby with not only by providing good nutrition, but also to cope with the stress of the emergency. (Incidentally, nursing will also help mama with the stress of the emergency, because nursing and cuddling produces oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” which also reduces stress.) If you aren’t breastfeeding, you will need to be sure that you have enough artificial infant milk (formula) on hand for an emergency, along with the extra water that you will need to prepare the formula.
You need to be sure that you have plenty of food stored that children will readily eat. There’s no point in storing food that they are unfamiliar with – in an emergency it is best to stick to familiar foods. Unfamiliar foods are less likely to be eaten at all, and if they are, may upset the digestion. So have foods they will eat. You also want to have good snacks to help with in between meals. There are a lot of snacks that are prepackaged and have an expiration date on the packages. Keep an eye on them, as with all your foods, and rotate as needed. Some snacks you might want to consider are crackers, fruit snacks, and juice boxes.
Babies and children also have different items in terms of medicines and hygiene products. Consider wipes, diaper cream, infant or children’s medicines of various types, etc.
Also consider clothing. Children grow fast, so be sure that you store clothing, including jackets and shoes, that are about a size larger than they currently wear. They can wear a larger size in an emergency, but squeezing into clothes too small just won’t work. Every six months or so, reevaluate the clothing you have stored. Rotate clothing as needed. Along with clothing, remember diapers for the baby. They are various sizes, also, so plan ahead and rotate frequently, so you aren’t stuck with small diapers in your storage that the baby has outgrown.
Another thing that is different with children is having enough things along that will help the time pass. Games, cards, books, and toys are all useful. Think about your child and his or her interests and choose things that are age-appropriate and will help them manage the stress of uncertain and different times.
Different Things to Do:
Things happening outside the normal routine is stressful for everyone, and children can be affected much more than we think. Ways to help with this is to prepare them ahead. At an age-appropriate level, children need to know what can happen and what to do. Just like they do in public schools, it is important to have a plan and have emergency drills. Talk ahead about what they should do: where to go during a house fire, what things they should take with them if you have to evacuate, etc.
If your children are old enough, you should have a backpack with stuff specifically for them. There should be clothes, food (including snacks), water, boredom-busters like books or a card game, etc. Even though you want your family to stay together in an emergency, if you are separated they will be better off with a backpack of their things. It may not hold all their stuff, but at least a good selection should fit fine.
If you keep these suggestions in mind, your children will be well-prepared for.