As an adult reader of this blog, you likely have the skills and knowledge to protect yourself and your family in the event of an emergency. That’s great. But would your kids or grandkids be okay if they had to handle an emergency situation without you?
The reality is that most children don’t have basic survival knowledge.
As parents, it’s our job to to teach kids emergency preparedness skills so they are ready in the event that tragedy strikes when no adults are around. Even a few basic skills, such as first aid and how to cook, can easily save a life as you’ll see as you read on.
Here are 7 things we recommend kids should learn how to do--so in the event of an emergency, natural disaster, or long-term power outage, they’re prepared for what comes their way.
Kid Survival Strategy #1 - Basic First Aid
Most kids age 4 and older are more than capable of learning basic first aid skills (see our Survival Scout on those basics).
In fact, there are 4 life-saving skills that are relatively easy for children to master.
- How to Fight Infection: When not treated properly, infections can be deadly.
Show children how to clean a wound with a solution like hydrogen peroxide.
Then, educate on the importance of covering a wound with a bandage or wrap to prevent germs from getting in.
- How to Stop Bleeding: Blood can be scary for children. Yet, if you or someone else is bleeding, it’s vital that you kids can lend a hand.
The easy way to do this is to teach kids how to use a blood clotting solution. You can find these in the first aid aisle of your grocery store. For your go bag or a bug-in home kit, the Lifeline Deluxe First Aid Kit provides medical basics.
For larger wounds, teach children how to tie bands around arms or legs to slow the bleeding and how to properly wrap limbs.
- How to Treat a Burn: The best way to treat a burn is to use the “rule of cold.”
Teach kids to immediately place ice or cold water on someone who has been burned to stop the burn from getting worse. Further steps, like applying an aloe-based gel, can be taught if you carry such supplies as an addition in your first aid kit.
- How to Help with an Allergic Reaction: If someone in your family has a serious allergy that requires an EpiPen, ensure kids know what it looks like and how to help use it in case of an emergency.
For minor allergic reactions, teach kids about products like Benadryl and how to safely distribute medication if the unexpected happens.
Kid Survival Strategy #2 - Food Safety
There are countless things you can teach kids about food safety in the event of an emergency. First and foremost, during a power outage, it’s important teach kids about food refrigeration and preservation.
Children should understand that it is NOT okay to rummage through the fridge or freezer for snacks, as they will let the cold air escape when electricity is not available.
Teach them instead to look for a prepackaged snack in the pantry if they must eat.
Another important skill is food distribution.
Explain to your kids that in the event of a real emergency, food on hand will run out quickly. For this reason, you have to be careful about how much you eat every day.
You might also want to touch on the idea that while sharing is a good skill, there are circumstances where you simply can’t hand food out to all of your friends. Those that choose not to prepare will drop-in within a short period of time.
Last, if you have a stockpile of food in the event of a crisis (as you should), ensure kids know where it’s kept. We always recommend having a couple of food cache locations. That way, if something happens to you or a portion of your residence, you can rest assured that your kids will at least be able to eat in your absence.
Kid Survival Strategy #3 - Basic Cooking Skills
Every kid should know how to cook a few simple meals.
Yet, alarmingly, a study by Italian pasta sauce company Sacla questioned 1,000 people and discovered that 73% of student-age kids can’t cook simple, healthy meals. Teach them how to boil water and cook up a Patriot Pantry Mac and Cheese dinner as practice.
Even worse, three quarters of those kids claimed to survive on a diet of snacks, fast food, and microwave meals.
This is a clear warning sign that the younger generations are not being taught necessary survival skills.
To fix this problem, teach older kids to prepare simple foods on a gas grill, on a stove top, or using an Instafire Biomass Inferno Stove.
Younger kids should also be learning basic cooking skills. If they don’t do it in school in the early grades, teach kids about healthy snacks and how to grow basic fruits and vegetables in a garden.
All kids are capable of learning. It’s our job to teach them.
Kid Survival Strategy #4 - Important Phone Number Memorization
Thanks to the invention of cellular phones, it’s easy for kids to communicate with a simple click of a button. The only downside to cell phones is that they have taken away the need for people to memorize phone numbers.
On most days, this isn’t a problem. But, what happens if your kid ends up in a dangerous situation and needs to call you, but he or she doesn’t have a phone that’s programmed with your number?
In the event of an emergency, it’s imperative that kids know how to get in touch with you, a family member, or an emergency service.
To ensure your kids’ safety, we advise that they memorize…
- Your phone number.
- Your spouse’s number.
- The number of a neighbor or relative who lives close by.
But keep in mind, in most emergencies or natural disasters, cell phone towers are overwhelmed or damaged and call might not go through. (We will go over the importance of having an emergency communication plan on a future Survival Scout.)
Kid Survival Strategy #5 - How to Operate Gas and Water Valves
A gas leak or a water-line break can cause big trouble in a home or building. Of course, we never recommend that you leave kids in charge of managing the shut off of something as dangerous as a natural gas line.
However, in the event of a true catastrophone, knowing how to properly operate valves can be a lifesaver.
Make sure your kids know where the valves are located and how to twist the value to shut them off in case of an emergency. Labeling your valves with the valve name and arrows that point to “on” or “off” is always a great idea.
Finally, make sure kids know to never touch these valves unless directed by you in the event of an emergency.
Kid Survival Strategy #6 - Where to Find Clean Water
Water is by far the most important resource when an emergency occurs. In fact, Live Science tells us that an average person can only survive two days to a week without liquids.
This is why kids of all ages need to know where to find clean, drinkable water at all times. If you have a survival water filtration unit, teach your kids how to use it.
If you stock water in a safe room in your home, show you kids where it’s at and explain to them what it’s for.
Most important--teach your kids practical skills regarding securing fresh water such as…
- Fillings tubs and sinks with fresh water if you have warning before a disaster occurs.
- Using rain barrels to collect fresh rain water.
- Rationing water so you don’t run out.
Kid Survival Strategy #7 - Where to Locate Safe Rooms
Knowing where to go during an emergency is just as important as knowing what to do.
If a tornado is in your area and your kids are home alone, they should know to seek shelter in an interior room or basement that doesn’t have windows.
If your house sets on fire, your kids should have a basic understanding of how to safely climb out a window and onto a safety ladder or how to get to the nearest door to get outside.
And, for worst case scenarios, your kids should know if you have any safe rooms or bunkers in the event of a nuclear disaster, war, or other major world event.
Important: If you have safe rooms in your home or a bunker nearby, it’s vital to have a strict talk with your kids about privacy and who’s allowed to know about these rooms. Older kids should be able to respect privacy rules. Use your best judgement on how much info you provide.
I wish you the best as you prepare the future generations for survival preparedness.
For more information, I encourage you to check out my post on personal hardship preparedness which you can read here.
Stay alert and have a safe weekend, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply