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helping children concerned about earthquakes

by Under the Pines on January 21, 2010 · 0 comments

With the devastation in Haiti being shown on TV and in print, I imagine that a number of children here in Victoria wonder what would happen if there was an earthquake in our area.  Although my children never asked about an earthquake, they did ask about the possibility of the ferries sinking.

It can be tempting to answer a child’s questions by saying that “No, the ferry won’t sink” or “It will be OK, we won’t have an earthquake” dismissing their concern.  But we don’t honestly know.  So how do we answer a child’s questions?  I think what the real question here is – am I safe?  Are you keeping me safe?

Let your child know what your family plan is in case of an emergency, keeping in mind to keep this information at an age appropriate level.  On the ferry, you can talk about the various safety methods available, lifeboats, life jackets, etc.  This lets your child know that you’ve heard his or her concern and you haven’t dismissed it as unreasonable, silly, or none of his/her business.  Instead, you reassure your child, that as the parent, it’s your job keep your child safe and that’s what you’re doing.

An older child may need and want more information and may want to be part of preparing for emergencies.  It may help an older child who is anxious about these potential disasters to participate in drawing up a family emergency plan and buying and storing supplies.  It can reassure your child that your family is prepared for emergencies.

Here is a link to a booklet about emergency preparedness http://www.pep.bc.ca/hazard_preparedness/AllHazards_WEB.pdf
Each municipality also has emergency information online:
Saanich http://www.saanich.ca/resident/safety/prep/program.html
Oak Bay http://www.oakbayemergency.com/Preparedness.aspx
Victoria http://www.victoria.ca/cityhall/departments_vep.shtml
CRD: http://www.crd.bc.ca/emergency/programs/programareas.htm

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