Review emergency plans with kids

The Baltimore Sun

The fresh start of a new year is a good opportunity to review your family's emergency plans. What should your kids be expected to do in a disaster? How do you prepare them without scaring them?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has an excellent family-friendly guide to preparing for disasters. You can find the full menu of resources, including lists of emergency supplies to keep on hand, at Meanwhile, here are some pointers on how to prepare your child for emergencies:

* "Tell children that a disaster is something that could hurt people or cause damage," the organization's site says. "Explain that nature sometimes provides 'too much of a good thing'- fire, rain, and wind."

* Teach kids how to call for help and when to use each emergency number.

* Designate a family contact who lives outside your town and instruct your child to call that person if you're separated.

* Teach children to keep personal identification with them at all times.

* Every six months, go over your family disaster plan (including two escape routes from each room) and quiz children on it.

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