Unexpected Emergencies

Family preparedness

Planning for unexpected emergencies is critical to the safety of your family. By planning ahead for emergencies and other unexpected happenings, you and your family are better able to handle any situation appropriately, significantly reducing the risk of harm. As you prepare, think about key people that you can rely on and possible backup systems for surprise events, like when a sitter or childcare provider is suddenly unavailable. Train your children so they will know what to do when an emergency catches them by surprise and organize your household so your family can find what they need when they need it.

Keep an Emergency Contact List

Keep a list of important names, phone numbers, and addresses. Review it with your children, spouse, and older adults. Write it in clear, legible, large print so it is easy to read for everyone. Have the list include friends, neighbors, and relatives that can help if something goes awry, and write down which ones are home during the day and which ones are home during the evening. Place the list by the phone and make sure sitters and family members know where it is located and how to use it. Make sure the list has information for:

• parents’ workplaces
• extended family members
• neighbors
• friends
• doctors
• veterinarians
• the fire department
• the police department
• poison control

Back-Up Child Care

Babysitters may cancel at a moment’s notice, and childcare providers may not be able to take care of your child on certain days. Plan for this by keeping a list of backup sitters and childcare centers that can watch your child if needed. Ask friends and neighbors if you can include them on this list.

Train Older Children

If children are old enough to be home without you, train them to solve problems on their own. When it’s appropriate, show them how to work important appliances, make snacks, and care for family pets. Think of potential problems they could have while you are at work or running an errand. For example, consider if your child gets into a disagreement with a sibling and you aren’t there. Instruct your child on what is to be done in your absence, and when it is appropriate to call you with a problem. If a child does call you with an emergency, stay calm. Get the information you need, and then direct your child on what to do
and who to call.

Stock Essential Supplies

Keep food supplies at home for children to use while you’re at work or away from home. Stock up on your kids’ favorite snacks and easy-to-prepare meals.

You can also keep a petty cash fund in a drawer for children to use when needed.

Make sure you have the following medical supplies in a first aid kit or medical cabinet:

• cotton
• adhesive tape
• bandages
• sunscreen
• a thermometer
• hydrogen peroxide for children
• pain relievers
• burn ointment
• a heating pad
• antibacterial ointment

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