Earthquake Preparedness is a Family Affair

For families with children, earthquake preparedness is a project for the whole family.

Are you prepared for an earthquake? Do you think your family knows what it needs to do to survive one? Will your family be able to recover quickly after an earthquake? Any earthquake plan you make needs to include your children. Read on for some helpful ideas on preparing your children for the Big One.

Infants and Toddlers

  • For infants and toddlers, you really need to think in terms of making their environment as safe as possible.
  • Your baby’s crib should be placed well away from windows and tall furniture that could slide or topple on to them in their crib.
  • Any emergency kit you make for yourself needs to include at least a 72-hour supply of extra water, formula, bottles, food, juices, clothing, disposable diapers, baby wipes, a change of clothing, and prescribed medications, especially for your baby. You may not be a fan of disposable diapers, but post-earthquake is the ideal time to take advantage of their convenience. Keep another set of the same things in your car too.
  • Think about what you will need to be able to evacuate your baby. A stroller? A baby backpack? You may have to walk some distance so think in terms of what will be best for you to carry your emergency supplies and your baby.
  • Do you have bumper pads in your baby’s crib? They will cushion your baby during earthquake shaking.
  • Install kid-safe latches on all cupboards (not just those young children can reach) so no heavy or breakable shelf items come tumbling down on your baby during an earthquake.

Preschool & School-age Children

  • When your child is old enough to understand, explain what earthquakes are and how they can affect them. Include your children when you plan for earthquake safety. Conduct earthquake drills and review safety procedures every six months. Make a game of it.
  • Point out to your children the safest places to be in each room when an earthquake hits. Also show them all possible exits from each room so they know how to get out once the shaking stops.
  • Teach your children to Drop, Cover & Hold On during an earthquake, using tables, desks and pillows .
  • Teach children what to do wherever they are during an earthquake (at school, in a tall building, outdoors).
  • Make sure children’s emergency cards at school are up-to-date, and talk with your child’s school about their emergency plan.
  • Although children should not turn off any utility valves, it’s important that they know what gas smells like. Advise children to tell an adult if they smell gas after an emergency.

What Do You Put in Your Kid’s Earthquake Go-bag?
Why, as much as they can carry comfortably for their size, including their favorite small toys, games, and snacks. A child old enough to carry a backpack like this is old enough to shoulder their own little earthquake go-bag. Here are things to include:

  • A bag that your child can carry easily. Something big enough to hold everything, but small enough to slide under their bed. A child’s backpack would work well.
  • A bungee cord to attach it to the bed – you don’t want it bouncing away before you ever get to use it!
  • An easy-to-use, kid-friendly flashlight with batteries stored separately
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Bottled water
  • High calorie snack items that you know your child will eat.
  • Whistle
  • A change of clothes, like sweats.
  • A toy, small game or book
  • A copy of your family emergency wallet card
  • Important! A recent photo of you with your child. If you are separated, this could be the best means of being reunited.

Optional items for your kid’s earthquake Preparedness go-bag:

  • Transistor radio, depending on the age of your child
  • Playing cards or other small games
  • Teddy Bear
  • Pen and paper
  • A favorite book
  • Dust mask/bandanna
  • Protective goggles