DCF Offers Tips to Parents to Keep Children Calm during Hurricanes, Other Disasters

image of hurricaneFor Immediate Release:
August 27, 2012

Erin Gillespie
Press Secretary
(850) 717-4450

DCF Offers Tips to Parents to Keep Children Calm during Hurricanes, Other Disasters
Make sure your children know your family’s emergency plan, let them help prepare emergency food and supply kit

TALLAHASSEE - With winds and rain from Tropical Storm Isaac covering most of Florida this week, the Department of Children and Families wants to offer tips to parents on how to talk to their children about hurricanes and other disasters.

"It's very important that parents and caregivers are able to help children in any way during times of distress," Secretary David Wilkins said. “Children can be confused and scared about how they will be affected by a disaster.”

Here are some tips to help you talk to your children:

  • Encourage children to ask questions and talk about their feelings.
  • Respond calmly and explain the facts to the best of your ability.
  • Have a plan and share it with your children so they know to expect to go to their grandparent’s house or another location in the event of a hurricane.
  • Make sure you have an arrangement for any pets and that your child knows their pet will be safe.
  • Tell the child only what they need to know, but do not give details that will needlessly scare them.
  • Pay attention to how much media coverage your child is allowed to see. They may not need to see all of the devastation from a major disaster.
  • Make sure your child knows who to call in case of a disaster if the parents are not available.
  • Help your child set up an emergency kit, with food, water, medical needs and more. Make sure to keep the kit updated and make it a fun activity with your child. Include a flashlight for your child and books, puzzles and games to keep them occupied.

To prepare your family for a hurricane, please go to the state of Florida's "Get a Plan" site at www.floridadisaster.org. For information about food safety during a hurricane or other disaster, please download "A Consumer's Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes" at www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Severe_Storms_and_Hurricanes_Guide.pdf