My husband and I had a plan for escaping a home fire, should disaster strike. We even had a meeting place outside – our car, which is parked away from our building in the parking lot. We had an emergency bag with extra food, water jugs stored in the back corners or our cabinets. We were ready for (almost) anything.
Enter baby. Our little guy brought plenty of joy, but also lots of anxiety. Our disaster kit suddenly seemed woefully inadequate for the needs of our growing family. And while we’re thrilled to report he’s now getting the hang of feeding himself, we’re a long way from him participating in a fire escape.
Tips for Emergency Preparedness with a Baby
If your family includes an infant, here are some preparedness suggestions we’d love to pass along:
- This goes for every household, but a new baby at home is a good excuse to check your smoke alarm batteries (you should do this every month!) and replace any that haven’t been swapped within six months. You’ll want as much time as possible to escape your home, and experts agree you could have as little as two minutes to get out.
- Discuss and practice a fire escape plan that includes your baby, paying special attention to a nighttime situation if your baby sleeps in another room.
- Update your disaster supplies with baby items (see below for a sample list). Don’t have a kit? Now is the perfect time to put one together!
Hang heavy items, such as shelves or frames, away from baby’s crib in case of an earthquake. We opted for a vinyl decal to decorate the crib area in the nursery, and we placed shelves and frames elsewhere around the room.
- If a tornado is threatening your home, put baby in his car seat for extra protection before you head to your home’s safe spot.
- Learn infant CPR. I hope I never need it, but I feel confident I’m prepared if the worst occurs.
Ideas for an Infant-Ready Disaster Kit
In addition to your regular survival kit, you’ll need a whole set of items to help baby stay safe, fed and happy during an emergency situation.
- Three days’ worth of the essentials: diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, etc.
- Plastic bags for dirty diapers, soiled clothes, and anything you want to keep protected
- Hand sanitizer
- Extra pacifier
- A couple seasonally-appropriate clothing items. I picked items a size or two bigger than what my son currently wears so I don’t have to swap them out too often.
- A headlamp or lantern (have you ever tried changing a diaper while holding a flashlight?)
- Blankets and burp cloths
- Special items needed for comfort and nighttime, such as a travel white noise machine with extra batteries
- A couple toys and/or teething items
- Copies of baby’s important docs (including addresses and phone numbers of your pediatrician and the closest hospital in case your phone loses power)
- Extra set of medical items (such as thermometer, nasal aspirator, nail clippers, etc.)
Don’t forget to evaluate and update your kit periodically as your baby grows up and needs new items.
Any other tips out there? We’d love to hear them!