Give by midnight, Dec. 31, and your tax-deductible gift will be DOUBLED for kids!
We all know that we should be prepared in the event of a disaster, but are we really? Most of us in Southern California keep extra bottles of water in our homes, a collection of dusty canned food (hopefully with a manual can opener), flashlights, a radio, and a first aid kid that will hopefully get us through in case “the big one” hits. While these basic extra supplies are certainly important, what about real necessities—the life-sustaining ones? In the event of a huge earthquake, the roads may be inaccessible, and we may be without power, running water or access to any store.
I work in the Division of Urology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and take care of many children who are dependent upon catheterizations to empty their bladder. Some of these children are completely unable to urinate without the use of a catheter, and are at risk for literally “popping” their bladder, which can be life-threatening, if they don’t catheterize at regular intervals throughout the day. Failing to catheterize can also lead to a myriad of other complications such as kidney failure, infection or electrolyte imbalance. I talk to all of my families about the importance of keeping an emergency stash of extra catheters to last at least three or four days in case a big earthquake hits and business is not as usual. Mini kits with these supplies should be kept at home (at both mom and dad’s house if parents don’t live together), in the car, at school, or at another location where the child spends a significant amount of time, like grandma’s house.
While your child may not need urologic supplies, think about if he or she relies on any life-sustaining equipment or medications. Some examples are kids who need:
It’s important to think about the food, equipment and medications that your child needs, and ensure that you have an adequate stash in your earthquake kit. Make a list of every supply that you use throughout the course of a day, to prevent forgetting little things that are actually important. For example, a G-Tube-dependent child may require:
If you aren’t quite sure what you might need, talk to your child’s doctor or nurse for advice. In some instances, the doctor may need to prescribe extra medication or supplies specifically for emergency purposes, as most supplies and medications are dispensed in exact quantities to get through the week or month. Also consider if your child’s medication must be refrigerated. Do you have ice packs to last a few days to keep this medication cool?
Even if your child doesn’t have any serious medical problems, it’s still important to think about being prepared with the basics. For instance:
I hope this article gets you thinking about your own child and what they specifically need in the event of a disaster. I hope none of us ever need to use these extra supplies, but I feel better knowing that my family is prepared in the case of a disaster.
If you like to read more on earthquake preparedness, visit: