A few years ago here in Birmingham the weather was really cold . . . like really cold . . . so cold that it started snowing and the snow decided to stay and put Birmingham at a standstill. At first everyone thought the snow was so beautiful as the flakes fell from the sky, but then they began to stick and more and more flakes kept coming down. People began to leave work early, schools made emergency preparations, and everyone was trying to get somewhere safe. Unfortunately, not everyone made it safe and sound. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people ended up stuck at work, school, stores, and on expressways. I remember that day vividly. Brysen, Karsyn, and I were stuck at their preschool (I was working there at the time) and my hubs was at home until the next day. Being a native of Chicago, I was not worried, and being a preschool teacher with a bunch of little people with me, I couldn’t be worried. So I had to remain calm, cool, and collected until the next day when conditions became better and we all were able to get home.
From that day on, I made sure to start preparing for situations like that one as the seasons change. Safety is super important when the weather takes an unexpected turn, especially when there are children involved. Safety is also important when traveling to public places and events with littles. You all know I love some tips and tricks, so here are my tips and tricks for safety during unexpected weather situations and public places and events with family.
1. You can never be over prepared!
So, when Brysen and Karsyn were in the itty bitty phase, it would take me forever to pack their baby bags! I would have to start getting things ready one to two hours in advance just to make sure I had everything while we were going to be out. Everything from snacks to meals, bottles, bottled water, and of course clothes and diapers for days . . . Why? Because I never knew what was going to happen or if we would be somewhere for an unexpected extended period of time. Even now, when we go out, I have my necessities I feel should be with us at all times (jackets, meds, snacks). There is no such thing as being over prepared, especially when the weather is so unpredictable. While I am not saying think of every possible scenario that could happen and pack your whole house, I am saying it is better to be over prepared than not prepared enough.
2. Prepare safety kits that are customized for your family’s needs.
I know that you all have seen on Pinterest, the news, magazine articles, etc. safety kits for your car and home, and they are great! However, when you are preparing them, do you customize them to fit the needs of your family? Things like flashlights, candles, safety flairs, and identification are all safety kit essentials, but other things should go in your safety kits as well. Things like special stuffed animals, toys, favorite snacks, and items for hygiene should also go in the kits. A HUGE part of being safe is comfort and calmness, and adding personal items in the kit can help bring on those feelings.
(P.S. You should also have separate safety kits for each vehicle and in your home so that in emergency situations you don’t have to haul one kit all over the place.)
3. Create family safety.
Cell phones are great! But sometimes signals go out or we leave our cell phones at home and do not have ways of communicating with the ones we are with or even with emergency personnel. With that said, it is vitally important to have different ways of communicating. Cars equipped with Bluetooth and OnStar are helpful. Safety flairs are great as well. Make sure that everyone you are traveling with or out with know where you are and where designated safety spots are located. It is especially important to teach children things like where information desks are, as well as a safe spot in public places. Safety words are also super important. Create a safety word or phrase for your family to use if they come in contact with someone that they don’t know. And as corny as it sounds, coordinating colors always work for children in public places where they are running and jumping. A lot of times, I put a ribbon or bow in Karsyn’s hair that matches what Brysen is wearing.
4 . Practice, practice, practice!
Just as we practice for fire drills, tornado drills, and other emergency situations, we need to practice safety when traveling as well. Don’t break down on the side of the road or get lost in a public place (LOL), but talk about it and maybe walk through some scenarios. Practice things like using the things in your emergency kits with the entire family. Techniques and songs to keep calm are also good things to practice, along with safe words. The more comfortable you are with the possibilities of emergency weather situations or public emergencies, the better off you will be IF something like that were to happen.
Below is my ultimate family safety kit for inclement weather.
Lauren’s Emergency Kit List:
- Birth certificates/ID/insurance cards (copies)
- Candles (real and LED)
- Portable cell phone chargers
- Gas can
- Paper, coloring books, pencils, pens, and crayons
- Blankets ($2.50 from Walmart)
- Travel pillows
- Fuzzy socks
- Extra undies
- Toothbrushes & toothpaste
- Mouth wash
- Rags and towels
- Snacks (non-perishable)
- Bottled water (multiple)
Let me know what you think and feel free to drop any tips and tricks you have for family safety!