With our kids in Daycare, there are several factors to be considered.  One of these considerations is what happens when faced with an earthquake or a significant disaster.  Roads and bridges may be damaged, making them impassable!  Phone lines may be down, making it impossible to contact our daycares.  We need to consider how we will pick up our child from Daycare when faced with this situation?

Little girl waving at daycare“Emma is 21/2 years old, and like many kids her age, she spends Monday through Friday at Daycare.  Both my husband and I work downtown and cross a bridge to get home from work.  What will we do after an earthquake if roads and bridges are closed”? “How will we get to Emma’s daycare to pick her up”?

As the young woman was asking the question, you could see the colour drain from her face as the reality set in.  She was trying to make sense of how they could get to Emma’s Daycare when facing a massive earthquake. She was gravely concerned and rightly so.

What about you – what would you do in this situation?

Imagine  –  if roads and bridges were damaged and you could not get to your child’s Daycare?  What if you couldn’t pick up your phone and call the Daycare – how would you make contact to find out your son or daughter was OK?

The questions this young woman was asking were excellent – questions all parents need to be asking.  More importantly, parents need to sit down with their daycare providers to find out what emergency/disaster plans your daycares have in place and find out what disaster supplies they have to look after your children when faced with tragedy.

Questions to Ask your Daycare Provider about Emergencies and Disasters?

What is the Daycare’s Disaster Plan?  Mom getting little girl ready for Daycare

Find out what emergency plans your Daycare has in place.  Do they even have an emergency plan?  Do they know what they would do when facing a fire, a flood or an earthquake?  From my experience, daycares operate differently, some are licensed facilities, some are private, and sometimes Daycare is provided by grandparents or friends helping us out.  However, your child receives Daycare. It doesn’t matter as long as your child is receiving the care they need.  What matters is – as a parent –  you need to know what your daycare provider has in place to look after your kids when faced with a disaster until you can pick them up.

What Emergency Supplies does the Daycare have to Support the Kids?

Food, water, flashlights, batteries, diapers are a few essential items that will be needed to look after your kids in the aftermath of a disaster.  What if your child takes medications, how will he/she receive the medicines they need if you are late picking him/her up from Daycare?  Make sure you find out what supplies are in place at your child’s Daycare.

Should I send a Disaster Kit to the Daycare for my Child?

Consider sending your child with a Grab and Go Kit containing items they will need to better survive in the aftermath of a disaster. You want to include the basics such as a change of clothes, medications, diapers, formula, food, water, to mention a few.  And don’t forget to include a note from mom and dad – this can be a real comfort to your child as he/she is waiting for you to come and pick them up.

kids sitting on a benchWith medications, always talk to your family Dr about the best way to do this.  Some meds may need to be refrigerated.  Let your daycare provider know there are meds in the kit in case other kids have access to the kits.

What if I can’t get to the Daycare by Pick-Up Time?

This can easily be remedied by having trusted friends or family who live in the area who can pick them up.  Most daycares will ask for a list of people who are authorized to pick up your kids in case you are not able too.  We never know where we will be when facing an emergency or disaster.  Even if you work in the neighbourhood, having others identified to pick up your kids is essential – you may have an appointment or meeting on the other side of the bridge and unable to return home when facing a disaster.

Our kids will always be our #1 priority.  Following the steps above and having your Family Disaster Plans in place will serve you and your family well when facing an earthquake or any disaster.

Your Key Message is “Disaster can happen, and they do happen.”  What are you going to do to get you, your family, and pets ready for a disaster?  It could be an earthquake; it could be a flood or fire. We don’t know – but what we do know is – families who are prepared will better survive whatever disaster comes their way.

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Stay Safe!

 Jackie Kloosterboer