Daycare Dilemmas

In Case of an Emergency

Q. This may sound totally nuts, but with all the news about hurricanes, earthquakes, and terrorist attacks, I worry about my child's safety in daycare if there's ever a disaster in our area.

A. It doesn't sound nuts at all, since you never know what might happen. Some daycare centers actually have a disaster plan in place, but many don't. So make sure yours does -- and ask if it's more than a fire evacuation plan. Some things to consider:

  • How would you be notified if a disaster hit, and what would your provider do if she couldn't reach you or if you were stranded?
  • Does the daycare center or family home have an emergency kit stocked with flashlights, a battery-operated radio, and enough bottled water, food, and other supplies to last for 72 hours?
  • If an evacuation were ordered, how would your caregiver manage to leave with the kids and where would she go?
  • Does she have contact information for you, your spouse, and your extended family?
  • Does she have your health insurance info, as well as written permission to authorize medical care for your child?
  • Does she keep phone numbers for police, firefighters, and other emergency responders on cell and landline speed dial?
  • You may never need to use this plan. But if you do, you'll be glad you thought of it in advance.

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