The first step to guide your child's interaction with their emergency supplies is to determine your child's developmental age. A child’s developmental age may not always align with their chronological age.
For those of us who may be setting out to develop a family emergency preparedness plan for the first time, it’s understandable to think that first aid is something that belongs in the realm of adult responsibility. And to be sure, parents and caretakers should absolutely be well versed in first aid. But helping your child develop a working knowledge of first-aid practices not only empowers them to be as prepared as possible for an emergency situation, but also helps them develop their sense of purpose, compassion, self-esteem, and empathy.
My first-aid kit is a little red bin full of odds and ends, tucked away in between the towels and sheets in our bathroom. There are leftover and dwindling supplies from my military days, many random cartoon-covered Band-Aids, and a handful of OTC meds. Nothing is organized. Nothing is inventoried. All of which might come as a bit of a surprise, considering I’m an ER doctor.
Creating this bag was a labor of love in the truest sense of the word. My daughter was three at the time, and I was learning firsthand and in real time that observing an interactive, inquisitive child can show you a lot about the design process.
Over the course of 20 years as a military reservist, I have led classes for hundreds of government, civilian and military disaster-planning experts. And whether the topic of discussion is big-picture strategy or more tactical elements such sheltering and evacuations, one of the major focuses of disaster planning is caring for our most vulnerable populations—namely, the elderly and children.