Disaster Preparedness for Families with Children
900 University Boulevard North
Jacksonville, Florida 32211
Children’s fears can be magnified by their imaginations, and adults should take their feelings seriously. You can reassure a child who feels afraid with your words and action.
When talking to your child, try to present an honest, realistic picture. Develop a plan to address their most common fears after a disaster:
- They will be separated from family, or that they will be left alone.
- The event will happen again.
- Someone will be injured or killed.
Advice on Communicating with Children about Disasters
It is important to communicate to children that the family circle is strong. Children need to be assured by their parents that the family is safe. Adolescents, in particular, can be hard hit by disasters. Parents should watch for signs such as sleep disturbances, fatigue, lack of pleasure in activities previously enjoyed and illicit substance abuse.
Overexposure to the media can be traumatizing. It is best not to let children or adolescents repeatedly view footage of traumatic events. Children and adolescents should not view these events alone. Adults need to help children understand the emergency or disaster. Discussion is critical. More information is availa.ble at www.aap.org.
DOH-Duval recommends assembling a kit for your child, including:
- Any medications they are taking
- A few favorite books, crayons and paper
- Puzzles, a board game, deck of cards
- Two favorite small toys, such as a doll or action figure, a stuffed animal
- Favorite blanket, pillow
- Pictures of family and pets
- Other special items that will comfort children
Child (and adult) immunizations should be up-to date to protect from vaccine-preventable diseases, including an unexpected outbreak during a disaster.
Keep a copy of complete immunization histories in your disaster kit attached to the family emergency information, including the date of everyone’s last tetanus-diphtheria vaccination.
For More Information
Please contact us at 904-253-1270.
The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557