Help your child know what to do in an emergency. Make a written plan together that lists emergency information for your child. This information may include your work phone number, your cell phone number, or the phone number of someone who cares for your child after school.
Pick out safe places to meet your child during an emergency. Choose one safe meeting place close to home or near your child’s school. Make sure your child can find these places.
Planning for an emergency can help get your child ready for any situation. These activities will help your child to:
In this activity, you can reassure your child that she’ll never be alone, not now or in the future. She’ll be a strong adult some day, standing up against life’s “storms” or everyday crisis on her own. But her family and her village will always be there to support and guide her.
Sometimes things happen that make a child feel afraid, like thunder on a dark night. Emotions can rumble inside, like thunder and lightning rumble outside. A flashlight can make a child feel more secure in a storm. If the lights go out, she knows the flashlight is there. In the same way, an emergency plan can provide a sense of security. Everyone knows what to do. In a storm, a boat needs a heavy anchor to keep it from blowing away. People need anchors too, plans, rituals, hugs—things, practices, and people that help us feel safe and secure.
Having a plan in place for dealing with emergencies can reduce your child’s fears and can help her feel safe. Writing the plan down lets her “see” that she’ll be safe. A Family Safety Card will help your child learn and remember important information, like her home phone number, address, your cell phone or work number, and other facts.
Practice dialing 911, or the emergency number for your area, and describing an emergency to an operator using a play telephone or cell phone. Let your child push the buttons and ask for help.
Make sure your child knows not to show her Family Safety Card to just anybody. She should only share it with her “safe” people—those people who can help her stay safe and can get in touch with you if there is an emergency. For example, it’s OK for her to show the Family Safety Card to her teacher, to a trusted neighbor, to her babysitter, to her principal, and to a police person. Explain that she shouldn’t show her Family Safety Card to any one else because they may not help her stay safe. For more information on talking to your child about “safe” people, visit the Web site for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at http://www.missingkids.com or call them at 1-800-THE-LOST.