Surviving during tumultuous times can be difficult enough without also having to be concerned about the safety of children. Children vary in the extent of their dependence on adults for protection, but almost all of them will rely on grownups to some extent.
1. Stranger danger- If there is ever a time to choose friends wisely, it is during a survival situation. When lawlessness is the rule, some people will seek to take advantage of individuals perceived as helpless, including children. Children need to be taught to be cautious around strangers and recently acquired friends and acquaintances.
2. Communication- Every family needs to have an emergency plan that is understood by each child. Communicating where family members will meet should a disaster occur is crucial, as is making sure each child understands things such as curfews and places they may and may not visit.
3. Weapons awareness- Every child in a household needs to be educated on the weapons in that home. Young children need to be trained on weapons safety, just as they would be during peaceful times. Having weapons at home can make a family safer, but on the flip side, a child that does not respect their purpose can cause a great deal of harm.
4. Weapons operation- Though the ideal would be for children to always be in the presence of an adult who is able to keep them safe, there will be situations when some children may need to defend themselves. Children that are old enough should be taught to protect themselves and others using weapons that the parents feel they are responsible enough to wield. Parents should consider both the physical and mental strength of their children when deciding how and when to arm them. A child not only must be able to correctly employ a weapon; he or she also must understand when it is appropriate to do so.
5. Hygiene- Some illnesses will be impossible to prevent, but taking basic precautions can keep children healthier. For example, do not prepare food that has been compromised due to lack of proper refrigeration. Cook with and eat off of dishes that have been cleaned, and only drink purified water. Personal hygiene should not be overlooked, and ensuring that the children have clean teeth and bathe regularly can keep disease and infection at bay.
It is sobering to be responsible for the safety of little ones. While children certainly make a survival situation more complicated, with foresight and planning a family can be ready for anything.
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