September is National Preparedness Month, a reminder to think whether you are prepared for an emergency situation. Many young children spend a large part of their day outside the home – but do parents know about emergency plans for their child’s daycare center or preschool?
In a 2015 NPCH Report, we asked parents about emergency plans at their children’s centers and preschools. Nearly 40% of parents reported their child’s center had experienced an emergency situation within the past two years. Two-thirds of parents reported that their child’s center or preschool had their emergency contact information stored digitally, to facilitate emergency messages even if children were evacuated to another location. However, only 37% of parents said their child’s center or preschool had an emergency plan online, making it difficult for parents to get further details about the center’s plan.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has outlined specific policies for child care centers and preschools for emergency preparedness, and has focused on the need for accessible, written evacuation plans for specific disasters and emergency events. If you are unsure of the emergency plan at your child’s center or school, ask your child’s teacher. It’s not enough that staff know the emergency plan—parents need to know the plan too.