As our kids get older, they spend more and more time at Queen Anne Cooperative Preschool (QACP) without their parent or caregiver. This growth is great for kids and parents alike. In the event of an unxpected emergency, however, this could result in your child experiencing a temporary separation from mom and/or dad during a stressful time. QACP members have worked to identify easily implementable solutions to help parents provide means of comfort in such unusual events. This blog post focuses on when we as parents would not be able to be with our children during a stressful event (e.g., natural disaster, classroom or daycare lockdown, personal/work-related illness or injury). Co-op parent Lisa McCluskey offers the following advice on creating a “Comfort Kit” to leave with your child’s caregiver and to help parents feel confident in addressing this safety topic with family, friends, and within their own communities.
Research the policies/practices of the individuals caring for your children regularly. My son, Yuli, spends a significant amount of his time at QACP as he is there almost every day either in the main or multi-age classroom (MAC). I have familiarized myself with the policies of QACP in the event of an emergency. Additionally, if my son needs to be in the care of another adult during that time frame, I have also accounted for “common practices” of the co-op plus instances that may be unique to my family’s own requirements/culture/situation.
QACP implements a variety of emergency plans in case of a natural disaster, classroom lockdown or sudden parental illness. Our school’s budget also has provided for the supplies necessary to care for the individuals that may find themselves at the co-op when an unexpected emergency occurs. I have considered those items when I chose to make my son his own “Comfort Kit” to avoid duplication. Yuli’s personal kit was created to care for him until I am to be safely reunited with him. It cost about $50.00.
What items have you chosen to include in your child’s “Comfort Kit”? I have included in this blog a photo showing the items in my son’s comfort kit that is kept at his preschool. All items fit in a water resistant, one gallon, zip top style eco-friendly labeled plastic bag (see image). QACP will provide the necessary personal products and foodstuffs for multiple days along with prudent tools (flashlight, whistle, can-opener, thermal blanket, etc.) for each member in the classroom. I chose to add for Yuli:
- Soft, pull-on hat
- Adjustable aqua shoes
- Extra diaper
- Pack of tissues
- Personal letter with stickers and family photo
- Change of clothes (onesie, long-sleeved shirt, stretchy pants)
- Lightweight and thicker socks
- Take-n-toss sippy cup
- Soft, hug-able toy
- Small board book
Observe safety and implement best practices when out and about daily. Despite the fact that I have left a “Comfort Kit” in each of my son’s QACP class tote bags in the co-op classroom, I also always keep a personal backpack full of items we would both need if disaster suddenly struck. Additionally, I store a smaller diaper bag-sized tote in a second place in case I am unable to access my primary supplies. Doing this has already been beneficial to us on three separate occasions this year: twice when my SUV was hit by another driver and once when Yuli suddenly needed to go to urgent care and eventually the emergency room.
For more information on what King County, WA recommends regarding personal preparedness, your kids and creating comfort kits for use during an emergency, please visit: http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/prepare/residents-business/PersonalPreparedness/Kids/ComfortKits.aspx