July 8, 2015

What Your Children Should Do If There’s an Emergency at Daycare

You considered your children’s daycare center carefully before choosing it. After all, you had to find a safe environment that would help your kids grow and develop. You wanted them to feel secure and happy when they spent time there. You also wanted to feel secure and happy in your decision, so you made sure the center had all the necessary certifications.

However, even though you know you made the right decision, you still worry about your children after you drop them off. They play with a group of other rambunctious kids, and an injury could occur after too much roughhousing. Or your children could contract an illness that another student brings into the center.

You don’t want your children to feel uncomfortable, even for the few minutes it takes you to come pick them up. So how do you help your children prepare for and handle an emergency situation? We’ve given you a few tips below.

Preparation: Emergency Survival Kits

As you prepare your kids for possible emergencies, keep in mind that your daycare center’s staff have the emergency certification and training to keep their students safe if anything happens. They can perform basic first aid, and they can get your children to safety if a natural or regional disaster occurs.

However, you can boost your peace of mind and your children’s confidence if you put two kinds of emergency kits in their backpacks.

Injury or Illness Survival Kits
The daycare center will likely have a first-aid kit on hand, but you can help your children feel safer by giving them their own kits with the following inside them:

Band-Aids with your kids’ favorite characters, designs, or colors on them
Gauze and heavy duty bandages
Sanitary wipes
Extras of any medications your children take, as well as your preferred over-the-counter painkillers
Lists of all your kids’ allergies and sensitivities
Emergency contact numbers, including your doctor’s number
Comfort items, like a blanket, a toy, treats, etc.
A complete set of extra clothes

These items would prove especially useful on a field trip or nature hike because staff might have to run back to the bus to get their own materials. Your kids’ kits will save time.

Natural or Regional Disaster Survival Kits
Sometimes a natural disaster like a powerful snowstorm or an earthquake could keep you from retrieving your children after daycare. Or maybe a lockdown or regional disaster could keep them at the center longer than usual. Your children will need an additional emergency kit just in case one of these scenarios happens. That kit should include:

At least one water bottle, if not two
Snacks and treats like granola bars and other nonperishables
Comfort items, but only if you didn’t put them in the other kit
A complete set of extra clothes, but only if you didn’t put them in your other kit
A flashlight and emergency whistle
Emergency contact numbers, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors

Buy larger backpacks for your children so they can easily carry these kits and still have enough room for homework, lunches, and other essential items.

Steps for Handling the Emergency

Even though your children have all the necessary tools to respond to the emergency, they might not know what to do with those tools. Teach them how to use each part of their emergency kits, and explain to them your plan to come get them if they get injured or if a disaster occurs.

While they wait for your arrival, your children should do the following if they get hurt:
Immediately find their instructor and explain that they need help.
Follow their instructor’s directions, whether those directions include lying down, applying pressure, waiting, etc.
Sit patiently while their instructor applies first aid. Leave comfort items to the side until their daycare provider finishes first aid.
Wait quietly and calmly until you pick them up. In the meantime, they should stay away from other children if they feel sick.

Similarly, if a storm or other disaster occurs, your children should take these steps:
Find their daycare provider as soon as possible.
Obey their instructor’s directions to either evacuate to a bus, gather in the cafeteria, stay in the classroom, etc.
Call home, if possible, to tell you that they’re okay.
Use water and snacks responsibly so they don’t run out before the disaster subsides.
Stay calm until you arrive to pick them up.
Older children should also assist the daycare provider as he or she tries to keep the situation under control. Many children panic or cry during an emergency, but they need to stay calm so they can hear and follow their instructors’ directions. Tell your older children to reassure their younger peers and help instructors with tasks like handing out blankets or shepherding other students to safety.

Again, your daycare center’s staff have the training to keep your children safe in an emergency. However, if you follow the tips above, you can help you and your children feel more secure. Ask your child care provider if you have any additional questions or concerns about your children’s safety.