Babies and young children need special care and attention in an emergency. Find out what you can do to look after them.

Caring for babies in an emergency

Babies are more at risk of becoming dehydrated or getting an infection. They need special care and attention in an emergency.

In an emergency, roads and shops may be closed for three days or more. You’ll need to have supplies to get your baby through. 

  • Disposable nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Rubbish bags for dirty nappies
  • Any medicines or creams your baby needs
  • Disposable gloves
  • Spare clothes, a blanket or special toy

Make sure you also have supplies for your baby in a grab bag, in case you need to leave home in a hurry.

If your baby often stays with family or carers, have some emergency supplies at their place as well as at home.

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During an emergency normal daily life is disrupted and people may need to leave their homes. This can be particularly difficult for mothers and people caring for babies.

The Ministry of Health has advice on feeding your baby in an emergency for both breastfed and formula-fed babies.

Caring for young children in an emergency

You can involve young children in planning for an emergency by giving them small tasks to do. For example, get them to check the date on your stored water or test the torch is working.

Talk to them in an honest, but not scary, way about:

  • what might happen in an emergency
  • what you can do to keep safe, and
  • what your plan is if you can’t get home. 

This can help to reduce fear and anxiety and helps everyone know how to respond.

The more involved they are, the less scared they will be when an emergency does happen.

Make sure you have supplies for young children in a grab bag in case you have to leave home in a hurry. The grab bag should have warm clothing, water and snack food, and a favourite toy or game to keep them occupied.

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Children have their own ways of dealing with trauma according to their stage of development. The Ministry of Health has guidelines on helping children deal with trauma.