Babies and Children
As long as you remain calm (or pretend to be) an earthquake will probably not frighten a baby as they are used to being carried here and there, lifted up and jostled, often without warning.
Bumper pads in the crib or bassinet and soft sides on the play pen will protect the baby. Furniture with low centres of gravity are unlikely to tip over easily. Be sure to remove all hazards in your childs’s room that can fall on the baby, such as pictures, hanging plants, mobiles, tall furniture, light fixtures or mirrors.
Remember the crawling baby or child on a kitchen floor might be hit by object falling from cupboards during an earthquake, so be sure to install strong latches on all cupboards.
If you are away from your child, in another room or outside, do not be tempted to run to the child. Your child will need you after the earthquake and, if you are injured, you may not be able to take care of the child afterwards. The important thing is to take cover where you are until after the earthquake, and if possible, call to the child with directions and reassurance.
If you are with your child at the time of the earthquake, take cover together in a safe place until the shaking stops.
When the ground stops shaking, check on the child or children if evacuation is necessary, do so carefully, taking your earthquake kit with you.
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Beginning at age two, a child can be taught some safety principles for earthquakes. The "duck and cover" drill can be introduced in low-key ways. Repetition and practice will help the child learn.
Remember to include older children in the discussion about your earthquake plans. For children at school, it is important to remind them about your reunification plans.
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The Child Alone at Home
If your child is old enough to be left at home even for short periods, be sure that your instructions are clear. Tell your child how to handle emergencies and where to go. They should know what to do if they smell gas, but unless they are teenagers, should be told to let adults disconnect gas cylinder.
Let your child know which neighbours are most likely to help. There should be more than one, in case one is injured or unavailable. Tell your child to leave you a note letting you know where he or she has gone.
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Be sure to include supplies for your baby and toddler in your earthquake kit such as formula, bottles, baby food, disposable diapers, and toys.
Remember to include your helper in your earthquake plans as well.
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