If a disaster should happen, and you have children in your home, who’s survival are you going to think about first? Your kids, of course. But does your current survival plan really include your children? Have you rehearsed your plan and tested your gear? If not you should.
Family Survival goes beyond teaching your children how to evacuate your house in case of an emergency…..because in some disasters, your house may only be a distant memory and you and your family are forced to bug out with hopefully more than just an emergency blanket.
Here are some ideas on how to think about your kids, through their different life stages, while planning for emergency preparedness.
- In this category, we may need to take some advice from the hippies. Breast feeding and cloth diapering are the way to go should a disaster arise. Let’s face it, you’re not going to be running to China-Mart to buy formula and pampers, so why not be prepared by utilizing these two methods of baby care in the first place? A nursing mom can keep her baby going indefinitely in even the most dire situation, as long as she has some access to water and nutrients for herself. What could be better preparedness than that?
- Another essential infant survival tool to invest in, is a good baby carrier or sling. In the event that you have to move somewhere on foot, this is an absolutely must. Additionally, they also work well for sleeping, as most infants will sleep wonderfully in a sling, and when disaster arises the last thing we are going to be carrying around is a pack n’ play. Some of the best slings that I’ve seen are the ERGOBaby carrier, and the Moby Wrap. Both of these allow you to carry an infant for hours without strain on your back. While the Moby Wrap is ideal in that it is ultra lightweight, compact, and portable; the ERGObaby carrier seems more sturdy and can hold children up to 40 pounds by manufacturer recommendation. In fact, on the FAQ section on their website, it says it has been tested up to 90 pounds (apparently you can carry your teenagers around in this one as well)
- Clothes and Shelter: Do you have items for your young children packed in your bug out bag and your car emergency kit? You should, because most likely your child or children will not be able to carry their own emergency kits. If they don’t make sleeping bags small enough for your little one, try sleep sacks, they go up to toddler sizes. What about all weather gear? Think extremities – hands, feet and head. Your child’s light-up Elmo tennis shoes simply aren’t going to do the trick in the event of TEOTWAWKI. Look for some sturdy all weather boots or shoes (Keen, Merrell, or Vasque). Also think about a few good pairs of warm socks (Smart Wool) as well as good gloves and a hat. Also make sure you have a tent or shelter that fits your whole family, not just your one man Rambo tent. Always plan like TEOTWAWKI or SHTF will happen in the worst possible weather.
- Food: Even in a disaster situation, your kids might be picky. Yes, when they get hungry enough, they will eat whatever you have, but you might be worried about their nutritional needs. That’s why your survival gear should include supplements & vitamins that are also safe for your children. Raw Source Organics supplements are made solely from organic fruits and veggies, so they are perfectly safe for even the youngest child. If your child is too little to swallow a capsule, simply open the capsule and sprinkle the powder in food or liquid. Like I said, when they are hungry enough, they will surely eat it. Also remember Murphy’s Laws of TEOTWAWKI – “Food & Water, you still don’t have enough.”
- Medicine: Young children are a lot more susceptible to getting sick than adults, so we need to be prepared for this. On this topic, I am going to borrow two ideas from THE SURVIVAL MOM blog. The first is in regards to giving adult medication to children in the event that children’s meds are nowhere to be found. The Survival Mom writes about this topic HERE and she cites the following chart with regards to dosages: Print off this chart now so that you have it when you need it.The second great tip from this same blog is regarding an easy remedy for diarrhea, which is common in young children, and simply involves a solution of sugar and salt that, when added to water, effectively re-hydrates the body after a loss of fluids from diarrhea. Read her tips and get the formula here:
- Rehearse – It is hard to rehearse for TEOTWAWKI or a natural disaster with young kids but you can come close with a camping trip. You first choice will always be “bugging in” or staying home with small children, but like we said earlier, that may not be possible and you might be forced to bug out. Go on an overnight camping trip with your emergency survival kit / bug out bag and what you can pack in the car in five minutes or less. While this might not be the perfect rehearsal for emergency survival, it will give you an idea of things you are missing for you and your family. Plus it will be a nice enjoyable time in the woods with your family.
- While you might think you don’t need to do as much to prepare your older children for surviving a disaster, this is simply not true. Survival might not be something they’ve ever thought about, so your first job is to get them thinking about it. Instead of packing a bug out bag for them, help them pack one for themselves. Explain to them what they need in it and why. Make sure not to instill fear in them while doing so, because this won’t help. Instead, by talking with them sensitively and realistically about possible disasters and helping them prepare themselves, you can give your children a sense of power and also instill valuable lifelong lesson that they might someday pass on to their own families.
- GET THEM OUTDOORS. Exposing children to nature is one of the best ways to teach them about survival, in a natural and fun way. Get them off the couch and away from the video games. Here are some ideas for what to do instead: Take them hiking or camping, Teach them how to garden, fish or hunt, Show them how to start a fire (once they are mature enough to handle it), Get them involved in Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, Sign up for a local survival or emergency preparedness course, Build a “Lean To” shelter or a snow shelter.
Most importantly, make it fun, and this way they will learn skills that they can use not only in a disaster, but for their whole lives. A great book to read about the importance of exposing children to nature is the following: Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. You can find the book here:
While we all hate to think about anything bad ever happening to our children, we need to prepare ourselves so that if something bad does happen, we can rest easy knowing that we have done everything we can to keep them safe. We hope these tips will help you to find a starting point for thinking about survival preparedness for your own Survival Family.
One great book to get you thinking about your family’s survival is “Making the Best of Basics” by James Talmage Stevens