Preparing for Hurricane Florence with Kids

The East coast of NC has been in a tizzy this week preparing for Hurricane Florence. While I could care less about the food I might lose if the power is out for days, I care a whole heck of a alot about the breast milk that could thaw and keeping my six year old entertained. Here is my list of how I’m getting through the storm with my children.

A hurricane with a breastfeeding baby

While there’s a plus side to having a breastfed baby in a natural disaster (boobs will always be there!), there are some downsides as well. For starters, if you pump and have a nice stash, you’re worried about if that thaws. If your babe is on solids, you may be worried about running out of food too. There’s also the fact that babies have no idea what a hurricane actually is so they may be prone to anxiety, which in turn can make the rest of the family anxious as well. 

  • Make sure all of your breast milk is in a chest freezer. 
  • Fill up ziploc bags with water and freeze them around the bags of breast milk.
  • Buy some dry ice to put on top of all of your breast milk in the chest freezer. Dry ice will last longer.
  • Remember that if the breast milk starts to thaw, it CAN be re-frozen as long as there is AT LEAST one ice crystal still in the bag. 
  • If you have the funds, buy a generator to ensure your freezer will not go without power.
  • If the power does go out and you don’t have a generator, avoid opening the chest freezer. If you can nurse instead of pump, do so! If you can hand pump and feed the baby fresh milk, do so!
  • If you need to pump and a hand pump doesn’t cut it, invest in a way to give your pump power. They make battery-operated plug ins for medela, for example. Make sure you have batteries for this as well.
  • Since it will be warm and if the power goes out, so does the AC, make sure you have plenty of battery-operated fans to keep the baby cool. 
  • Have baby tylenol on hand. 
  • Make sure all bottles are washed prior to the storm hitting. If your baby uses a cup, purchasing some disposable sippy cups may be beneficial so you aren’t relying on having water to wash bottles/cups.
  • Make sure all toys have fresh batteries.
  • Pre-cut any foods that will need to be cut up for your baby. Put these in ziploc bags (or reusable containers) and have them in the fridge or freezer. 
  • Stock up on non-perishable foods (canned fruit, canned veggies, fruit cups, or baby food if you are not doing BLW).
  • Make sure you have plenty of diapers and wipes, as well as diaper cream and toothpaste.
  • Wash all clothes to ensure laundry won’t become an issue.
  • If you fill bathtubs with water, MAKE SURE YOU CLOSE THE DOOR AND DO NOT ALLOW THE BABY IN. Please remember it is very easy for a baby to drown. 
  • Fill a bag with essentials that you can easily grab if you need to evacuate, including a couple changes of clothing.

A hurricane with a school-aged child

Luckily with my son being six, he understands what a hurricane is (at least, I’ve explained it to the best of my abilities). The downside to this is it means he’s anxious about what’s to come and has ten thousand questions.

  • Make sure their tablet is fully charged with games and videos downloaded in case there is no wifi. If you have more than one tablet (we have two somehow!), make sure they ALL have games and videos and are fully charged. Have headphones readily available with them as well.
  • Have age-appropriate board games on hand.
  • Prepare a few activities that can be done easily if the power goes out – simple crafts and coloring are perfect.
  • Explain to your children what will happen in the storm and make sure to answer their questions honestly. Don’t scare them, but they need to take this seriously. 
  • Have an evacuation plan in place and make sure your children understand. 
  • Explain to your children what to do should mom and dad be unconscious or unavailable for any reason. They should know how to dial 911 and how to get in touch with a neighbor should something go wrong. 
  • Make sure they know where the emergency supplies are should mom or dad be stuck or unable to help. 
  • Have plenty of easy snacks on hand. Fill small water bottles and cups with water (you can freeze some) for them should the water stop working or be contaminated. 
  • Buy a lot of mac and cheese and pre-make some PBJ. You’ll thank me later for this one. 
  • Do all their laundry prior to the storm. 
  • Have them create a bag full of “comfort” items. If the storm gets scary for them, these items will help them relax. My son’s comfort items include a stuffed giraffe that he’s had since he was a toddler. 
  • Fill a bag with essentials that you can easily grab if you need to evacuate, including a couple changes of clothing.

A hurricane as a parent

While I expect everyone will have the necessary equipment on hand, here is a list of things that may be a good idea to have… including some not-so-necessary necessities (yes, I’m talking about wine). 

  • Write down important phone numbers in case your phone dies and you need to borrow one from someone else.
  • Create a family plan of where to meet if something goes wrong and you are separated.
  • Prepare your children for what’s to come. Be sure they know important phone numbers such as 911. 
  • Make sure all medications have been filled (and have over-the-counter meds available). 
  • If you have a grill, be sure to stock up on propane and/or charcoal. 
  • Fill and freeze tupperware containers to help keep food cold in power outage and to have extra water should you need it.
  • Fill empty jugs with water if you can’t find bottled water.
  • If you are having trouble finding bread, buy tortillas, buns, or rolls insead. 
  • Look for supplies in the not-as-obvious places such as dollar stores and gas stations. 
  • Stock up on non-perishables. Be prepared to eat what is in your fridge should you lose power.  
  • Put away items in your yard, on your deck, and on your porch. These include rocking chairs, umbrellas, kid’s toys. If you can’t fit them in sheds or inside, strap them down with bungee cords or sand and hope for the best.
  • Don’t forget to wash your own clothes and wear weather-appropriate clothing in case of emergency situations. Don’t be stuck in a sundress and sandals should a tree fall on the house or flooding happen. 
  • If you are traveling for any reason and need updates, dial 511 to reach the NC Department of Transportation. 
  • If you need food, meal sites, water, or other recovery and rebuilding resources after the disaster – NC 2-1-1 will help. 
  • Booze. Lots of booze. And don’t forget your chasers/mixers. I’m only kind-of kidding. Don’t get wasted, but if it’s safe to do so – indulge. You’ll be around your kids for waaaaay too long to stay sober. 😉

A hurricane with animals

  • Bring all outdoor animals inside.
  • Have enough food and water on hand for your animals.
  • If your animals are anxious in storms, take precautions (such as anxiety meds or comforting blankets) to ensure they don’t panic. 
  • Create a safe space for them indoors with a bed and blankets to calm them during the storm.
  • Create a place for them to use the bathroom. Sod, puppy pads, etc are perfect for this in a garage, back (covered) deck, or inside if needed.
  • Make sure they have a collar on with contact information should they get lost. 
  • If you choose to evacuate- BRING THEM WITH YOU.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Katelynn Dortch | 12th Sep 18

    Great advice! Thank you for writing this!

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