Google “how to prepare for an emergency,” and you’ll get thousands of results offering to teach you to do everything from building a bomb shelter to storing food and water for long periods. These can be great resources, but most of them don’t tell you want to pack or how to prepare if you have an infant or a young child in your family. Sure, they’ll need food, water and shelter, but there are many other supplies that you’ll need to make sure your children can survive and thrive if everything hits the fan. Here are some tips to help you prepare an emergency kit if you have an infant or one on the way.
1. Think of What You Use Every Day
First, sit down and think of what you use every day when caring for your infant. This list may vary greatly depending on the health and temperament of your little one, but it will likely include:
- Car seat
- Baby Swing
- Bottles, pacifiers and other related equipment.
- Food — formula, breast milk, pureed food, etc.
- Diapers — cloth or disposable.
- Infant Medications
- Toys, blankets, clothing, etc.
How much of that do you think you can pack up in a short amount of time if you need to evacuate? It seems like a lot, but if you consider the fact that this small human relies entirely on you for survival, it helps to put things in perspective. Once you have an idea of what you use daily, it’s time to move on to step two.
2. Multiply it by 3 – Minimum
Step two is to take the list you made above and multiply it by three. This won’t apply to things like car seats or playpens — you only need one of those, thankfully, because they’re expensive — but for food, diapers, bottles and the like, figure out how much you use and multiply by three. This will help you create a basic emergency kit for 72 hours.
Keep in mind, this is the minimum you’ll need for an emergency kit — and you should have a 72-hour kit for everyone in your household.
3. Planning for the Long Term
Not all emergencies end in 72 hours. Puerto Rico is still recovering after Hurricane Michael struck it in 2017. It can take days or weeks for companies to restore power and other utilities, and in the meantime, you’re on your own.
Think about the kind of disasters you’re likely to face in your area. If you live along the Eastern Seaboard or the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll likely face blizzards in the northeast and hurricanes in the south. In the Midwest, you have tornadoes and wildfires, and on the Pacific coast, you have wildfires and earthquakes. On a wider scale, you also have the threat of terrorist attacks, nuclear strikes and wars — and the zombie apocalypse, of course. You might need to evacuate, or you might need to shelter in place.
Either way, you’ll need supplies. You may not need 25 years of food and water like this blog suggests, but have enough to weather the storm. Or the fire. Or the flood. Or the zombies. Whatever the world throws your way.
4. Take Care Of Yourself Too
With an infant, this step is vital. They’re reliant on you, and you can’t take care of them if you’re not taking care of yourself first. This is especially critical if you’re breastfeeding. Your body can’t produce enough milk if it’s not getting enough nutrients and water.
Make sure you have plenty of nutrient-rich and non-perishable foods and snacks. Nuts are a good choice because they don’t require refrigeration but are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as the healthy protein and fiber you’ll need to keep going, both literally and figuratively.
Don’t neglect yourself just because the world is ending. Your little one relies on you, so take care of yourself.
5. Don’t Forget Paperwork
If there’s one thing you need to include in your infant emergency kit, especially if you evacuate, it’s important paperwork. You’ll need things like birth certificates, social security cards and medical paperwork on hand. In an evacuation, you don’t want to leave these important papers behind on the off-chance they might be destroyed. If you shelter in place, you may still need them if you need rescuing.
Keep copies of these papers, and anything else that you deem important, in a waterproof container near your evacuation supplies. That way, you can grab them and go if the need arises.
6. Cycle Your Supplies
Most of the things in your emergency kit will have expiration dates. While it’s true these dates are like the pirate’s code — more like guidelines than actual rules — you still want to ensure your supplies are as fresh as possible if an emergency happens.
You can achieve this by cycling your perishable supplies. As something, like a can of formula or a jar of baby food, approaches its expiration date, buy a new one. Use up the one that’s close to expiring, and add the new one to your emergency supplies.
7. Always Prepare for Anything
You may have some warning before an emergency happens, but that’s not the time to stock up. As soon as the news says there’s a storm coming or a need to evacuate, everyone heads to the grocery store to stock up on bottled water and milk. No, we don’t know why they buy milk if they expect the power to go out. They just do.
Are You Prepared for an Emergency?
Having a minimum of 72-hours of supplies for your infant — and everyone else in your house — can make sure you’re prepared for anything. Preparation is the best tool in your arsenal to ensure you make it through the storm and out the other side.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, writer, and blogger. She enjoys yoga, tacos, and drinking all of the tea she can find. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis and check out her blog, Mindfulness Mama, where she shares her expertise in parenting, healthy living, and food!