An emergency can happen to anyone at any given time. For that reason, everyone needs to be prepared to deal with such a crisis efficiently at all times. For any parent, the safety and security of their child are of utmost priority. Parents now have ways to ensure their child’s safety other than simply protecting them. Providing their child with the knowledge of dealing with medical emergencies is better and would help them a great deal.
Children, especially the younger ones, are vulnerable creatures. Experiencing a medical crisis is hard enough for adults. Just imagine what it must be like for small kids. Accidents and injuries, even some that may not seem dramatic, will affect children in unpredictable ways.
Fortunately, emergency preparedness is not an adult-only affair. Involving your children in preparedness activities can be a key to helping them stay safe and overcome their fears.
Have a conversation with them
The first step to preparing your child for handling emergencies is to establish proper communication.
Talk with your child about the kind of emergencies that can happen and why it’s important to prepare ahead of time. Chances are pretty high that your child is already familiar with the types of emergencies that can occur in your area. In a world of round-the-clock news coverage, they may have heard or watched it on the radio or television.
Discuss the types of things that can occur during an emergency. For example, bleeding that would not stop or a sprain that is badly hurt. Do an introduction to the most common medical emergencies and how to treat them.
Also, explain when to evacuate in a natural disaster and discuss how you will prepare to address such occurrences. Let them know the types of disasters that can happen and what such disasters can cause. Teach them about natural hazards like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and snowstorms – and what to do when they occur.
While these are certainly scary scenarios for children, they need to be familiar with them. The more they know, the better they will be to cope before, during, and after an emergency or disaster happens.
When creating an emergency plan and putting together your emergency first aid kit, take your child along with you in the process. For example, let them join you while shopping for emergency supplies. Take time to explain each item, what it’s for, and how it will help them in an emergency.
Ensure that your children are completely familiar with the emergency plan. It means holding regular practice drills and celebrating their small improvements.
Before an emergency
The best time to figure out what to do in an emergency is even before it happens. Planning ahead of time saves you precious minutes. Instead of searching for phone numbers, documents, and other things – you can focus on surviving. Here are simple things you can do to prepare your kids for an emergency.
Include your kids in your plans in a non-scary or intimidating way. Know what they can handle and explain the events as best as you can.
For example, talk to them before an expected round of storms about what they might see. You can tell them that fire, wind, snow, and rain are all part of nature. Explain to them that at once during a storm, it can cause the lights to go out. Other things in the house may also stop working for a while. Tell them how you and the rest of the family your family is prepared to handle it.
Let them know about the people who can help in an emergency or a disaster. They should have some real-world experience with health and safety authorities. Tell them about police officers, firefighters, local health officials, and paramedics. It will help in future events so your child will not be afraid to ask for help when the need arises.
During an emergency
Even with preparation, the child can panic, especially if you allow your concern to be visible. The most important thing you can do during an emergency is to remain calm. It is important to stay as calm as possible to avoid falling into the biggest danger, freezing in panic. We do not want to be fearful to the point where it paralyses us.
Some kids may get hyper and silly when in panic, while others may shut down completely. Keeping an eye on your child and recognising their signs of anxiety allows you to provide extra support when they need it. Tell your child not to panic and remind them that they are the key to getting out of the situation safe and healthy. Knowing what to do can help them feel empowered and minimise the chances of your child getting hurt.
After an emergency
Provide children with opportunities to talk about the emergency. Ask what they went through during the event or what they think about it. Encourage them to share their concerns and ask questions if they have one.
Keep them in the loop about what is happening. If there is a need to evacuate, let them know where you plan to sleep or if you have shelter in mind. Once everything is back to normal, return to your usual schedule as soon as possible.
First Aid Training
It is always a good idea to learn life-saving techniques, and training your young ones can help too. Speak to them on how first aid can help someone and when to use it. Studies suggest that children perform basic first aid procedures such as CPR as early as six and seven. By 14, they can generate enough force to do chest compressions on an adult in a sudden cardiac arrest.
At the end of the day, it is your responsibility as a parent to prepare your children for an emergency. Be it at home, at school, in a playground, or anywhere else. Do not wait to prepare your children for an emergency because you never know when one might happen.