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Tips of the Week for September, 2013

Eating Healthy. Growing Strong.
09-30-2013

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Academy of Pediatrics have joined with the best-selling children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle to help families learn about healthy eating habits.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar eats many foods on his journey to becoming a butterfly. You can help your child on his or her own journey to grow up healthy and strong.  To help you in this journey, we have created the following resources:

Tips for Healthy Eating at Home Simple tips from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Academy of Pediatrics for eating healthy with your kids at home.

Reading Guide Discuss healthy active living using The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle!

Growth Chart (PDF) Download a special The Very Hungry Caterpillar growth chart and keep track of your child’s journey to becoming healthy & strong.

Learn more about the collaborators and the campaign. Find out how this collaboration started and explore additional resources available for parents and healthcare professionals.

This campaign was made possible by the generous support of We Give Books.

Visit We Give Books with a child in your life and read some of your favorite children’s books for free, anytime you like, no matter where you are. With each digital book you read, we’ll give a brand new book to a great local or international literacy organization that you choose to support.

Provided by HealthyChildren.org – For more information, please go to http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/the-very-hungry-caterpillar/Pages/default.aspx

Find out more about The Very Hungry Caterpillar and author and illustrator Eric Carle at www.eric-carle.com and www.penguin.com/ericcarle

 

 


Ballet and Dance
09-23-2013

Dance is an artistic, athletic, expressive, and social form of physical activity that appeals to a wide variety of individuals. The physical aspects of dance can be both a valuable source of exercise as well as a cause of injury. For young people who take dance classes, have formal training in dance, or perform as dancers, they typically do so in one of the following dance disciplines: ballet, jazz, modern, tap, hip hop, Irish, or lyrical.

There are many forms of dance that have unique physical demands and specific injury risks. There are also some physical demands that are common to a wide variety of dance forms. For example, many types of dance involve jumping, turning, toe pointing, back arching, and lifting. These activities can produce tendinosis, stress fractures, ankle sprains, ankle impingement, or low back pain.

The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about common ballet and dance injuries and their symptoms. Also included are 3 common questions from dancers.

Common injuries

 

Injury

Description/Cause

Symptoms

Flexor hallucis longus tendonitis

Inflammation of tendon that flexes big toe; tendon is stressed with releve, jumps, pointe work.

Pain, tightness, and/or weakness along the tendon in arch or behind the inner part of the ankle.

Symptomatic os trigonum 

Extra piece of bone behind ankle joint (found normally in 20% of individuals) gets pinched when the toes are pointed and ankle is flexed downward.

Pain, tightness, and occasional swelling behind ankle associated with releve, pointe work, and going up on toes.

Anterior talar impingement

Pinching of soft tissues in front of ankle with ankle bending upward.

Pain, tightness, pinching sensation in front of ankle with plié, preparing to jump, and landing from jump.

Ankle sprain

The ankle inverts (collapses inward) most commonly when dancers are on their toes while jumping, landing, or turning.

Pain, swelling on outer ankle; sense of instability with sideways movement; sprains are more common if there has been a previous sprain.

Stress fracture

Repetitive impact stress can cause weakening of bone; often without a visible crack seen on x-ray. Common in metatarsals (forefoot), tarsals (midfoot), tibia, and fibula (leg) and occasionally femur, pelvis, and spine.

Persistent, deep, bony pain associated with high levels of impact activity; more common in dancers with calcium or vitamin D deficiency, eating disorders, and menstrual irregularities.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome

Pain under the kneecap from pressure associated with knee bending, pliés, jumps; can lead to softening or thinning of cartilage behind the kneecap.

Dull, achy anterior knee pain that increases with knee bending, pliés, and jumps.

Snapping hip

Multiple causes including tendon snapping over front or side of hip; associated with active hip movement; occasionally due to torn cartilage lining the hip socket but very unlikely due to dislocating hip.

Snapping sensation that may or may not be painful; occasionally, dancer has a sense that the hip is going out of place; occasionally, there is a catch or pinching sensation deep in joint when hip is bending.

Pars injury

The pars interarticularis is a part of the spine that is stressed with back extension (arching); pain or weakening of the pars most commonly occurs during periods of rapid bony growth. Injuries to this area may be referred to as spondylolysis, or stress fracture of the spine.

Tightness, achiness in central part of the low back that is worse with arching, jumping, running, and lying prone; better with forward bending; nerve symptoms and radiating pain are rare with this condition.

Disc injury

Weakening or bulging of lumbar disc; due to repetitive trunk bending, twisting, or lifting. Athletes may also get a vertebral end plate (growth plate) injury.

Low back pain that extends to the flank or buttock; may spread to thigh; occasional numbness or tingling; worse with sitting, bending, lifting, and lying down with face up; better with arching and lying down with face down.

 

Frequently asked questions

Q: When can I begin pointe work?

A: En pointe refers to performing dance steps on the tips of the toes. This technique is used only by female dancers. Trying pointe work too soon can lead to risk of sprains, fractures, and growth plate injuries. Most experts believe that a dancer is ready to try pointe work when the following criteria are met:

  • Age range 9 to 15 years; 12 is average (assuming other criteria below are met)
  • Three or more years of classical ballet training; 2 or more classes/week of preprofessional training (Instructors who have trained professional dancers can usually determine when a dancer has the necessary experience, technical skill, and strength to go en pointe.)
  • Sufficient bony maturation
  • Adequate strength in arch, ankle, leg, hips, trunk muscles
  • Adequate balance and control
  • Adequate supervision and training, including carefully graded skill progressions and monitoring

Q: Can I improve my turnout?

A: Turnout refers to the ability to externally rotate the hip. Not all dancers can achieve optimal turnout because they may be limited by their bony anatomy. For example, the depth and angle of a dancer’s hip socket may affect how far he or she can rotate his or her hip. However, most dancers can improve their turnout with appropriate exercises. For example, turnout can be improved by stretching the hip joint and the muscles on the inner side of the hip joint.

Optimal turnout allows dancers to stand with their feet pointing opposite directions while their knees are positioned directly over the feet. If turnout is not done correctly, dancers are either unable to hold this position or they “cheat” by twisting their knees or forcing their lower legs to the outside. When the hip, knee, and foot are not in alignment, leg and low-back injuries can occur.

Q: How can I safely lose weight?

A: Dancers of all ages face tremendous pressure to be thin. The pressure may be based on aesthetic or performance requirements. At times, targeted weight goals may be unhealthy. Not getting enough calories and nutrients can contribute to less energy, impaired brain functioning (like poor concentration), and increased risk of illness and injury. When unsafe weight loss practices are used to reach a desired appearance, health risks can include serious illness, hospitalization, and even death.

Dancers who want to lose weight should use a medically supervised strategy. This includes working with a medical professional to determine how much weight loss is safe, how quickly the weight can be lost and how nutritional and energy requirements will be met. It may also be helpful to work with a registered dietitian. It is essential to have regular medical monitoring to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the weight loss program.

For answers to additional questions about injuries, injury prevention, and safe training practices, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.

Remember

Ballet and dance injuries can be prevented with proper supervision and compliance with the rules and safety guidelines in place for ballet and dance.

 

Last Updated  8/30/2013

 

Provided by Healthychildren.org – Please see attached link - http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/sports/Pages/Ballet-and-Dance.aspx

 

Source

Care of the Young Athlete Patient Education Handouts (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 


Getting Your Family Prepared for a Disaster
09-17-2013

What to Tell Your Children About Disasters

It is important to warn children, without overly alarming them, about disasters. Tell children that a disaster is something that could hurt people or cause damage. Explain that nature sometimes provides “too much of a good thing” – fire, rain, or wind. Talk about things that could happen during a storm, like the fact that the lights or phone might not work. Tell children there are many people who can help them during a disaster, so that they will not be afraid of firemen, policemen, paramedics, or other emergency officials.  Teach children:

  • How to call for help
  • How to shut off utilities (gas, electricity, etc.)
  • When to use emergency numbers; and
  • To call the family contact if they are separated.

Staying Calm in an Emergency

The most important role a parent can play in an emergency situation is to stay calm. Children of all ages can easily pick up on their parents’ fears and anxieties. In a disaster, they’ll look to you for help and for clues on how to act. If you react with alarm, a child may become more scared. If you seem overcome with a sense of loss, a child may feel their losses more strongly. However, experts agree that you should be honest with your children and explain what’s going on. Just be sure to base the amount of information and level of detail on what’s appropriate for their age level.

Children and Their Response to Disaster

Children depend on daily routines: They wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, and play with friends. When emergencies or disasters interrupt this routine, children may become anxious. Not want parents out of their sight/refuse to go to school or daycare. Feel guilty that they caused the disaster by something they said or did. Children’s fears also may stem from their imagination, and you should take these feelings seriously. A child who feels afraid is afraid. Your words and actions can provide reassurance. When talking with your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable. Be aware that after a disaster, children are most afraid that:

  • The event will happen again.
  • Someone will be injured or killed
  • They will be separated from the family
  • They will be left alone

Common Child Behaviors After a Disaster

Children may be upset over the loss of a favorite toy, blanket, teddy bear or other items that adults might consider insignificant. Undergo a personality change–from being quiet, obedient andcaring to loud, noisy and aggressive or from outgoing to shy and afraid. Have nightmares or be afraid to sleep alone or with the light off. Become easily upset, cry or whine. Lose trust in adults because the adults in their life were unable to control the disaster. Revert to younger behavior such as bedwetting and thumb sucking.

Special Needs of Children after a Disaster

Parents should remember that the psychological effects of a natural disaster don’t go away once the emergency has passed. Children can suffer from nightmares or other problems for up to two years after a disaster. Children are able to cope better with a traumatic event if parents, teachers and other adults support and help them with their experiences.

Help should start as soon as possible after the event. Some children may never show distress because they don’t feel upset, while others may not give evidence of being upset for several weeks or even months. Even if children do not show a change in behavior, they may still need your help. Parents should be on the lookout for signs that their kids need some extra counseling.

What Parents Can Do to Help Children Cope after a Disaster

Talk with children about how they are feeling and listen without judgment. Let them know they can have their own feelings, which might be different than others. Let children take their time to figure things out and to have their feelings. Don’t rush them or pretend that they don’t think or feel as they do. Here are some suggested ways to reduce your child’s fear and anxiety:

  • Keep the family together as much as possible. While you look for housing and assistance, try to keep the family together and make children a part of what you are doing. Otherwise, children could get anxious and worry that their parents won’t return.
  • Calmly and firmly explain the situation. As best as you can, tell children what you know about the disaster. Explain what will happen next. For example, say, “Tonight, we will all stay together in the shelter.” Get down to the child’s eye level and talk to them.
  • Encourage children to talk. Let them talk about the disaster and ask questions as much as they want. Encourage children to describe what they’re feeling. Help them learn to use words that express their feelings, such as happy, sad, angry, mad and scared. Just be sure the words fit their feelings–not yours.
  • Listen to what they say. If possible, include the entire family in the discussion. Reassure them that the disaster was not their fault in any way. Assure fearful children that you will be there to take care of them. Children should not be expected to be brave or tough, or to “not cry.”
  • Include children in recovery activities. Give children chores that are their responsibility. This will help children feel they are part of the recovery. Having a task will help them understand that everything will be all right.
  • Go back as soon as possible to former routines. Maintain a regular schedule for children.
  • Let them have some control, such as choosing what outfit to wear or what meal to have for dinner.
  • Allow special privileges such as leaving the light on when they sleep for a period of time after the disaster.
  • Find ways to emphasize to the children that you love them.

Turn off the TV

Once you arrive at a shelter, hotel, or a relative’s home, disaster related TV programs should be restricted. News coverage of disasters—especially if children see their own town or school on TV–can be traumatic to children of all ages. If children watch TV coverage of the disaster, parents should watch with them and talk about it afterwards.

Activities to Get Children Talking About a Disaster

Encourage children to draw or paint pictures of how they feel about their experiences. Hang these at the child’s eye level to be seen easily. Write a story of the frightening event. You might start with: Once upon a time there was a terrible ______ and it scared us all ______. This is what happened: ______.
Be sure to end with “And we are now safe.”

Kids Get Ready Kit

Assemble a Special “Get Ready Kit” for kids. Explain to your children that you might need to leave your house during a disaster and sleep somewhere else for awhile. Here are some items you and your children could put into a back pack so it will be ready if needed:

  • A few favorite books, crayons, and paper.
  • Two favorite small toys like a doll or action figure.
  • A board game.
  • A deck of cards.
  • A puzzle.
  • A favorite stuffed animal.
  • A favorite blanket or pillow.
  • Picture of your family and pets.
  • A box with special treasures that will help you feel safe.

How to Get Your Family Ready

It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency, because when a disaster strikes, the best protection is knowing what to do. You should also discuss possible disaster plans with your children–in a very general way–so that they will know what to do in various situations. For example, if you live in a part of the country that is prone to tornadoes, it is important for your children to know what to do if a tornado is coming. Remember that it is possible that you and your children may be in different places when a disaster strikes; for example at school and work. Also, older children may be home alone when faced with an emergency.

Create a Family Disaster Plan

You can create a Family Disaster Plan by taking four simple steps. It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency because the best protection is knowing what to do. Talk with your children about the dangers of disasters that are likely in your area and how to prepare for each type.

Make sure they know where to go in your home to stay safe during an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, or other disasters likely for your area.

Teach your child how to recognize danger signals. Make sure your child knows what smoke detectors, fire alarms and local  community warning systems (horns, sirens) sound like and what to do when they hear them.

Explain to children how and when to call for help. Keep emergency phone numbers (your local Emergency Phone Number List) where family members can find them.

Pick an out-of-state family contact person who family members can “check-in” with if you are separated during an emergency. For children who are old enough help them to memorize the person’s name and phone number, or give them a copy of the emergency list included in the kit.

Agree on a meeting place away from your home (a neighbor or relative’s house or even a street corner) where you would get together if you were separated in an emergency. Give each family member an emergency list with the name, address and phone number of the meeting place. For children who are old enough help them to memorize the person’s name, address and phone number.

Put together a disaster supplies kit for your family.

Practice your Family Disaster Plan every six months so that everyone will remember what to do when in an emergency.

It's important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency because the best protection is knowing what to do.

Pets

Shelters can’t take pets, so plan what to do in case you have to evacuate. Call your humane society to ask if there is an animal shelter in your area. Prepare a list of kennels and veterinarians who could shelter them in an emergency. Keep a list of “pet
friendly” motels outside your area.

Disaster Supplies

Every family should have disaster supplies in their home. Needed supplies include food, water and other things that you might need in an emergency. In a hurricane, earthquake, or flood, you could be without electricity for a week or more, or the water supply may be polluted. There also may be times, like during a flood or a heavy winter storm, that you might not be able to leave your house for a few days. Your family may never need to use your disaster supplies, but it’s always best to be prepared. To make getting these items fun, you could have a family “Scavenger Hunt” and have family members see how many of these items they can find in your home.

Provided by HealthyChildren.org -  http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Getting-Your-Family-Prepared-for-a-Disaster.aspx

Last Updated 8/7/2013

 

Source

Family Readiness Kit: Preparing to Handle Disasters, 2nd Edition

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 


Music and Mood
09-09-2013

Music’s beneficial effects on mental health have been known for thousands of years. Ancient philosophers from Plato to Confucius and the kings of Israel sang the praises of music and used it to help soothe stress. Military bands use music to build confidence and courage. Sporting events provide music to rouse enthusiasm. Schoolchildren use music to memorize their ABCs. Shopping malls play music to entice consumers and keep them in the store. Dentists play music to help calm nervous patients. Modern research supports conventional wisdom that music benefits mood and confidence.

Because of our unique experiences, we develop different musical tastes and preferences. Despite these differences, there are some common responses to music. Babies love lullabies. Maternal singing is particularly soothing, regardless of a mom’s formal musical talents or training. Certain kinds of music make almost everyone feel worse, even when someone says she enjoys it; in a study of 144 adults and teenagers who listened to 4 different kinds of music, grunge music led to significant increases in hostility, sadness, tension, and fatigue across the entire group, even in the teenagers who said they liked it. In another study, college students reported that pop, rock, oldies, and classical music helped them feel happier and more optimistic, friendly, relaxed, and calm.

Music, Attention, and Learning

Everyone who has learned their ABCs knows that it is easier to memorize a list if it is set to music. Scientific research supports common experience that pairing music with rhythm and pitch enhances learning and recall. Music helps children and adolescents with attention problems in several ways. First, it can be used as a reward for desired behavior. For example, for paying attention to homework for 10 minutes, a child can be rewarded with the opportunity to listen to music for 5 minutes. Second, it can be used to help enhance attention to “boring” academic tasks such as memorization, using songs, rhythms, and dance or movement to enhance the interest of the lists to be memorized. Instrumental baroque music is great for improving attention and reasoning. For students, playing background music is not distracting. Third, musical cues can be used to help organize activities – one kind of music for one activity (studying), another for a different activity (eating), and a third kind for heading to bed. Fourth, studies show that calming music can promote pro-social behavior and decrease impulsive behavior.

Music and Anxiety

Many people find familiar music comforting and calming. In fact, music is so effective in reducing anxiety, it is often used in dental, preoperative, and radiation therapy settings to help patients cope with their worries about procedures. Music helps decrease anxiety in the elderly, new mothers, and children too. Music’s ability to banish worries is illustrated in the Rogers and Hammerstein lyrics,

“Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect
And whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect I’m afraid…
And every single time,
the happiness in the tune convinces me that I’m not afraid.”

Any kind of relaxing, calming music can contribute to calmer moods. Calming music can be combined with cognitive therapy to lower anxiety even more effectively than conventional therapy alone.

Some studies suggest that specially designed music, such as music that includes tones that intentionally induce binaural beats to put brain waves into relaxed delta or theta rhythms, can help improve symptoms in anxious patients even more than music without these tones; listening to this music without other distractions (not while driving, cooking, talking, or reading) promotes the best benefits.

Music and Moods

An analysis of 5 studies on music for depression concluded that music therapy is not only acceptable for depressed patients, but it actually helps improve their moods. Music has proven useful in helping patients with serious medical illnesses such as cancer, burns, and multiple sclerosis who are also depressed. If it can help in these situations, it may be able to help you and your loved ones experience more positive moods.

Music and Sleep

Many people listen to soothing music to help them fall asleep. This practice is supported by studies in a variety of settings. Just don’t try listening to lively dance music or rousing marches before you aim to fall asleep. Conversely, if you’re trying to wake up in the morning, go for the fast-tempo music rather than lullabies.

Music and Stress

Since ancient times, it has been known that certain kinds of music can help soothe away stress. Calming background music can significantly decrease irritability and promote calm in elderly nursing home patients with dementia. Music, widely chosen, lowers stress hormone levels. On the other hand, every parent of a teenager knows that certain kinds of music, particularly at high volumes, can induce stress. Knowing that certain kinds of music can alleviate stress is one thing; being mindful in choosing what kind of music to listen to is another. Choose your musical intake as carefully as you choose your food and friends.

 Provided by healthychildren.org - http://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Pages/Music-and-Mood.aspx

Last Updated 8/14/2013

Source

Mental Health, Naturally: The Family Guide to Holistic Care for a Healthy Mind and Body (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 


Getting Your Family Prepared for a Disaster
09-04-2013

What to Tell Your Children About Disasters

It is important to warn children, without overly alarming them, about disasters. Tell children that a disaster is something that could hurt people or cause damage. Explain that nature sometimes provides “too much of a good thing” – fire, rain, or wind. Talk about things that could happen during a storm, like the fact that the lights or phone might not work. Tell children there are many people who can help them during a disaster, so that they will not be afraid of firemen, policemen, paramedics, or other emergency officials.  Teach children:

  • How to call for help
  • How to shut off utilities (gas, electricity, etc.)
  • When to use emergency numbers; and
  • To call the family contact if they are separated.

Staying Calm in an Emergency

The most important role a parent can play in an emergency situation is to stay calm. Children of all ages can easily pick up on their parents’ fears and anxieties. In a disaster, they’ll look to you for help and for clues on how to act. If you react with alarm, a child may become more scared. If you seem overcome with a sense of loss, a child may feel their losses more strongly. However, experts agree that you should be honest with your children and explain what’s going on. Just be sure to base the amount of information and level of detail on what’s appropriate for their age level.

Children and Their Response to Disaster

Children depend on daily routines: They wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, and play with friends. When emergencies or disasters interrupt this routine, children may become anxious. Not want parents out of their sight/refuse to go to school or daycare. Feel guilty that they caused the disaster by something they said or did. Children’s fears also may stem from their imagination, and you should take these feelings seriously. A child who feels afraid is afraid. Your words and actions can provide reassurance. When talking with your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable. Be aware that after a disaster, children are most afraid that:

  • The event will happen again.
  • Someone will be injured or killed
  • They will be separated from the family
  • They will be left alone

Common Child Behaviors After a Disaster

Children may be upset over the loss of a favorite toy, blanket, teddy bear or other items that adults might consider insignificant. Undergo a personality change–from being quiet, obedient andcaring to loud, noisy and aggressive or from outgoing to shy and afraid. Have nightmares or be afraid to sleep alone or with the light off. Become easily upset, cry or whine. Lose trust in adults because the adults in their life were unable to control the disaster. Revert to younger behavior such as bedwetting and thumb sucking.

Special Needs of Children after a Disaster

Parents should remember that the psychological effects of a natural disaster don’t go away once the emergency has passed. Children can suffer from nightmares or other problems for up to two years after a disaster. Children are able to cope better with a traumatic event if parents, teachers and other adults support and help them with their experiences.

Help should start as soon as possible after the event. Some children may never show distress because they don’t feel upset, while others may not give evidence of being upset for several weeks or even months. Even if children do not show a change in behavior, they may still need your help. Parents should be on the lookout for signs that their kids need some extra counseling.

What Parents Can Do to Help Children Cope after a Disaster

Talk with children about how they are feeling and listen without judgment. Let them know they can have their own feelings, which might be different than others. Let children take their time to figure things out and to have their feelings. Don’t rush them or pretend that they don’t think or feel as they do. Here are some suggested ways to reduce your child’s fear and anxiety:

  • Keep the family together as much as possible. While you look for housing and assistance, try to keep the family together and make children a part of what you are doing. Otherwise, children could get anxious and worry that their parents won’t return.
  • Calmly and firmly explain the situation. As best as you can, tell children what you know about the disaster. Explain what will happen next. For example, say, “Tonight, we will all stay together in the shelter.” Get down to the child’s eye level and talk to them.
  • Encourage children to talk. Let them talk about the disaster and ask questions as much as they want. Encourage children to describe what they’re feeling. Help them learn to use words that express their feelings, such as happy, sad, angry, mad and scared. Just be sure the words fit their feelings–not yours.
  • Listen to what they say. If possible, include the entire family in the discussion. Reassure them that the disaster was not their fault in any way. Assure fearful children that you will be there to take care of them. Children should not be expected to be brave or tough, or to “not cry.”
  • Include children in recovery activities. Give children chores that are their responsibility. This will help children feel they are part of the recovery. Having a task will help them understand that everything will be all right.
  • Go back as soon as possible to former routines. Maintain a regular schedule for children.
  • Let them have some control, such as choosing what outfit to wear or what meal to have for dinner.
  • Allow special privileges such as leaving the light on when they sleep for a period of time after the disaster.
  • Find ways to emphasize to the children that you love them.

Turn off the TV

Once you arrive at a shelter, hotel, or a relative’s home, disaster related TV programs should be restricted. News coverage of disasters—especially if children see their own town or school on TV–can be traumatic to children of all ages. If children watch TV coverage of the disaster, parents should watch with them and talk about it afterwards.

Activities to Get Children Talking About a Disaster

Encourage children to draw or paint pictures of how they feel about their experiences. Hang these at the child’s eye level to be seen easily. Write a story of the frightening event. You might start with: Once upon a time there was a terrible ______ and it scared us all ______. This is what happened: ______.
Be sure to end with “And we are now safe.”

Kids Get Ready Kit

Assemble a Special “Get Ready Kit” for kids. Explain to your children that you might need to leave your house during a disaster and sleep somewhere else for awhile. Here are some items you and your children could put into a back pack so it will be ready if needed:

  • A few favorite books, crayons, and paper.
  • Two favorite small toys like a doll or action figure.
  • A board game.
  • A deck of cards.
  • A puzzle.
  • A favorite stuffed animal.
  • A favorite blanket or pillow.
  • Picture of your family and pets.
  • A box with special treasures that will help you feel safe.

How to Get Your Family Ready

It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency, because when a disaster strikes, the best protection is knowing what to do. You should also discuss possible disaster plans with your children–in a very general way–so that they will know what to do in various situations. For example, if you live in a part of the country that is prone to tornadoes, it is important for your children to know what to do if a tornado is coming. Remember that it is possible that you and your children may be in different places when a disaster strikes; for example at school and work. Also, older children may be home alone when faced with an emergency.

Create a Family Disaster Plan

You can create a Family Disaster Plan by taking four simple steps. It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency because the best protection is knowing what to do. Talk with your children about the dangers of disasters that are likely in your area and how to prepare for each type.

Make sure they know where to go in your home to stay safe during an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, or other disasters likely for your area.

Teach your child how to recognize danger signals. Make sure your child knows what smoke detectors, fire alarms and local  community warning systems (horns, sirens) sound like and what to do when they hear them.

Explain to children how and when to call for help. Keep emergency phone numbers (your local Emergency Phone Number List) where family members can find them.

Pick an out-of-state family contact person who family members can “check-in” with if you are separated during an emergency. For children who are old enough help them to memorize the person’s name and phone number, or give them a copy of the emergency list included in the kit.

Agree on a meeting place away from your home (a neighbor or relative’s house or even a street corner) where you would get together if you were separated in an emergency. Give each family member an emergency list with the name, address and phone number of the meeting place. For children who are old enough help them to memorize the person’s name, address and phone number.

Put together a disaster supplies kit for your family.

Practice your Family Disaster Plan every six months so that everyone will remember what to do when in an emergency.

It's important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency because the best protection is knowing what to do.

Pets

Shelters can’t take pets, so plan what to do in case you have to evacuate. Call your humane society to ask if there is an animal shelter in your area. Prepare a list of kennels and veterinarians who could shelter them in an emergency. Keep a list of “pet
friendly” motels outside your area.

Disaster Supplies

Every family should have disaster supplies in their home. Needed supplies include food, water and other things that you might need in an emergency. In a hurricane, earthquake, or flood, you could be without electricity for a week or more, or the water supply may be polluted. There also may be times, like during a flood or a heavy winter storm, that you might not be able to leave your house for a few days. Your family may never need to use your disaster supplies, but it’s always best to be prepared. To make getting these items fun, you could have a family “Scavenger Hunt” and have family members see how many of these items they can find in your home.

 Provided by Healthychildren.org - http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Getting-Your-Family-Prepared-for-a-Disaster.aspx

Last Updated

8/7/2013

Source

Family Readiness Kit: Preparing to Handle Disasters, 2nd Edition

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 


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