Even without global pandemics and natural calamities, children are always vulnerable. Parents have their work cut out for them trying to keep them healthy and safe.
Emergency supplies form a good part of every must-have for parents when it comes to seeing to the well-being of their little ones.
But what all must be included in this emergency kit?
As parents, we tend to go overboard and err on the side of caution when it comes to hoarding emergency supplies.
But if, for instance, we are forced to flee our homes in the middle of the night with just the clothes on our back because emergencies strike, we will not be able to carry a lot of stuff along with our children to safety.
So, we should have a priority of emergency supplies, preferably kept in a light back-pack (or similar), which can be easily carried anywhere.
Your emergency supplies should also take into account the age group of your children. The supplies required by toddlers will not always be the same as those required by pre-teens.
Of course, the older your children, the more you can involve them as well in keeping an emergency kit ready for nearly any out-of-the-ordinary event they might face.
Emergency Kit: A Must-have for Parents
Here we have listed out the top 10 must-have emergency supplies for parents.
Keep in mind that this list is not hard-and-fast, and you will have to sometimes improvise, depending on your children's ages, availability of item and the nature of the emergency you are facing.
When it comes to emergency must-haves for parents, food always tops the list.
We cannot go for long without food when children, especially babies and toddlers, are involved.
But while collecting for your emergency kit, you need to be careful while selecting the food. Perishables like fruits or milk will not be a wise choice.
We must choose food items that are directly consumable, that will not go bad for a long time and are easy to transport.
There are many baby foods in the market which can be eaten after mixing with some hot water. This would be a good choice for parents with babies.
For older children, you can pack biscuits and dried fruit. Make sure that the amount of food you set aside for emergency rations can last for at least a day.
2. Water Bottles
Make sure that your emergency kit contains a water bottle for every member of the family, especially kids.
In the case of natural disasters, there might be no telling how long it will take before you reach shelter. So, make sure all the water bottles are filled with fresh water.
Also, it would be a good idea to have at least one thermos flask for hot water. While storing your emergency supplies, make sure the water bottles are regularly replenished with fresh water.
3. Medicine and First-Aid
After food and water, a must-have for parents is medicine.
Scratches and broken bones are inevitable when it comes to hyperactive toddlers and even older kids.
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked up on simple medicines for fever and cough (for babies) like paracetamol and cough syrup, and with first-aid kits that contain band-aids, gauze, disinfectant and hand sanitisers.
Also, make sure that you have some ointment to treat simple burn injuries.
Once again, ensure that the amount of medicine is enough to see you through a couple of days at least.
4. Flashlights and Batteries
At least some of you might consider flashlights as must-haves for paranoid parents.
But in reality, this is one supply that must definitely be included in your emergency kit.
What if you are forced to leave at a moment's notice, in the middle of the night? What if there is a black-out at the shelter where you have to take refuge?
In either of these scenarios, small children are bound to be scared and crying, and something as simple as a flashlight will be a huge help in calming them down.
Make sure you carry extra batteries as well.
5. Clothes and Diapers
For parents travelling with small children, packing extra clothes have become the norm. Babies and toddlers manage to dirty their clothes within an hour.
Make sure your emergency kit has extra pants, T-shirts and undergarments for all your children.
Also include a warm jacket, hat, mittens and woollen scarf if your home is somewhere cold, or if you experience cold weather.
In case of babies, make sure you add a packet of diapers also to your emergency kit.
6. Scissors, Knives and Toilet Paper
Scissors, knives and toilet papers will come in handy if you are ever required to leave your home and seek refuge in a community shelter in case of floods or other natural disasters.
Scissors and knives are simple and useful tools.
Community shelters might not have enough toilet papers and tissue napkins for all, so having your own is always handy.
7. Toys for Toddlers
This might seem like a luxury while packing your emergency kit, but if you have the space and if your children are toddlers or younger, pack a few simple toys to keep them occupied while you ride out whatever emergency that forced you to flee your home.
In such stressful circumstances, having a cranky toddler will try your patience severely and the toys will seem like a godsend.
8. Power Banks
Today, many of us depend on our mobile devices for many things.
Having your phone lose power in the middle of a crisis is one nightmare parents should not have to deal with, on top of managing the children and keeping them safe.
Pack a couple of powerful power banks into your emergency kit, along with its power cord so that in an emergency, your phone will not have to run out of power.
9. Phone Book
A phone book might seem like an outdated concept what with everyone storing their contacts on their mobile phones these days.
But what if your phone runs out of power in an emergency? Or, what if you lose your phone?
Nobody memorises phone numbers these days.
Write down your emergency contact numbers in a small notebook and keep it among your emergency supplies so that you always have a means of contacting friends or family.
In case of emergency situations like earthquakes or floods, we are all concerned with survival and making sure our children are safe.
But after the crisis, we will need to go back and restart our lives again.
And, in the 21st century, this means having a lot of important documents like your passport, drivers' license and social security card.
Make sure that photocopies of these documents (for both adults and children) are kept in your emergency kit.
This is so that once the crisis is over, in case the originals are destroyed, you still have the means to supply the authorities with the necessary documents.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.