This is Part 3 of a 3 part series looking at preparedness for kids when they go back to school. If you want to catchup, you can click here to read part one on Knowledge and click here to read part two on Clothing.
When most people start gathering supplies for an emergency, they focus on what they need for their home base. They buy tents, and tarps, and stoves, and food, and water, and fuel, and…, and…, and…. This is a great first step, but soon you realize you don’t spend your entire life at home and you start putting together kits for traveling. You might make car kits or get home bags, which are great when you’re together as a family, but what about when your children are away at a school, without you there?
Three years ago I realized that many events can occur that would separate our kids from us for an
I realized that we send our kids to school with all kinds of school supplies, but nothing that would help keep them safe in an emergency. Our children’s schools did not require or even suggest a list of emergency supplies for students, so I decided to make my own list. I researched several suggested combinations. I thought about what emergencies could potentially impact them, what kind of equipment they would be able to operate at their ages, and would fit in a small bag to stay together in their backpacks (I chose a cloth zipper pouch from IKEA, but all of the items could also fit in a gallon sized Ziploc bag).
Based on what I found, here are the items that I include in their kits:
Ponchos are usually made out of plastic and come folded in small pouches. They are excellent for keeping kids dry, especially during torrential rainfall.
Mylar blankets can serve multiple purposes. They are intended to keep a person warm (reflecting their body heat back on to them). In addition to keeping warm, kids can use them as mini shelters (think tiny tarps) to stay dry in rain or snow or to find shade during the sunny seasons. Kids can also use the blankets for signaling, using the shiny side to alert emergency works. In our case I bought a blanket made out of a more durable material and with an orange side to add for additional signaling options.
Headlamp with Batteries
Things always seem scarier in the dark. Providing a means for your kids to light their way can give them an increased sense of control and remove some of the immediate fear. A flashlight is also an option, but I opted for head lamps to they have both of their hands free. (Note: If you store the batteries in the head lamp, make sure to check them every couple of months as they will slowly drain even if the lamp was never turned on.)
Glow sticks are incredibly versatile. Your child can use it for illumination and for signaling. Additionally, glow sticks are fun, and in an emergency, a little fun can make all of the difference.
2 Protein Bars
Almost every suggested list I found included some type of snack. Hunger and low blood sugar will not help your child manage the stress of the situation. It is perfectly fine to include snacks like fish crackers and cookies, but I opted for, and recommend, something different. Protein provides a better nutritional option than sugar, helping kids stay full longer and give them longer lasting energy. The protein bars I selected are essentially meal replacements, but covered in chocolate. (Note: make sure to do a taste test with your kids before selecting the bars to put in their kits. There is a wide range of flavors and you want to find a flavor that your kids will actually eat).
This isn’t meant to be a true first aid kit, but having a couple of Band-Aids is never a bad thing. During an earthquake or other emergency it’s very likely that your child or one of their friends may get a scrape or cut. Having a few Band-Aids can help limit the spreading of blood and potential infection in the wound.
Staying clean and sanitary during an emergency is critical. Standard wet wipes are also a great option, but we found a gentle anti-bacterial wipe. Some people prefer not to use anti-bacterial wipes in general practice, but in an emergency you may not be dealing with the standard food spills and dirt that you usually wipe away.
Whistles are important for signaling in an emergency. The sound from a child blowing into a whistle will travel much farther than the sound from a child yelling. Yelling for help can exhaust a child, while blowing into a whistle uses considerably less energy.
This is not the end-all-be-all list of what to include in an emergency kit for kids, it’s my suggestion based on all of the suggestions I’ve read through. Every child’s kit should be tailored to his/her needs and the emergencies that they may encounter. As with any preparedness plan this kit should be reviewed, edited, changed, and evolved every year to make sure it is still functional and viable for your needs. Hopefully this will give you a solid start to build a kit for your child this school year.