Emergency Plan

We recently had a bit of a scare in that I got very sick late at night last weekend (edited – I am now ok it was a 24 hour thing thank goodness). We had to go to the emergency department at our local hospital because I got very sick very quickly and there were no GP’s open at that time of night. My parents who are normally our back up plan for caring for the little monkey if we are unable to, were away on holidays. Our close friend who is back up number 2 was also away. So we were stuck with a sleeping toddler and an urgent need to get me to hospital. Thankfully we were able to call a friend of ours and his girlfriend who were happy to come over at 11pm and keep an eye on our little money (despite our attack cat going bonkers at them).

This made us realise we really need to think of some emergency contingency plans for the future. We can not just assume that our default back up carers will be around. You really do need a network of people you can rely on. But this is easier said then done I know. Especially when you are the first out of your closest friends to have kids (and your friends don’t have kids), you live alone, are a single parent and so on (you get the picture). How you over come these barriers I have no idea and I am sorry I have no recommendations on what to do if you are in that situation (will be happy to hear suggestions). But long story short you need to have a serious think and have a network of trusted people you can call on if needed.

But one thing this situation made me realise is that this goes bigger picture then just who would care for my child if we can not. Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. In some ways I am prepared, we have a first aid kit for instance but I’ll be honest, if something bad happened where I actually needed to use it for anything other than applying a band-aid, well I wouldn’t know what to do. There is a very good chance the poor person requiring first aid would get slathered in antiseptic cream and wrapped head to toe in bandages and band-aids. We have a smoke alarm but what would we actually do if we woke up one night and the alarm was going and smoke was pouring in under our door? But while you are on your planning kick you should look at the bigger  bigger picture and what would we do during a disaster like a cyclone or zombie apocalypse?? (ok this one IS already mapped up. I clearly have priorities).

I guess we all have a vague idea of what we should do in an emergency, and would like to think when it is crunch time we would be so awesome and be a fantastic emergency responder in our household. But when it comes to crunch time do we really know? I used to laugh in the movies where the “crazy” dad or mum would make the family do emergency drills. In fact Big Bang Theory recently had an episode where Sheldon did just this. Was hilarious at the time. Not laughing so hard now. Now I think this might not be such a crazy idea. We do drills at school and work so why not in the home?

So over the next month or so we are going to develop some real emergency situation plans (fire, accident, cyclone, zombie apocalypse etc) and have them in an easily accessible place. Discuss with friends/family about care arrangements in the event both myself and hubby are not able to care for our little monkey. I feel silly for having one but at the same time it is a very real issue that needs to be addressed, because in an emergency situation the last thing you want to be thinking about is “who do we call?…..what do we do?”. One thing I know for certain I do not want to be in the situation we were in that night the other weekend where we stood there looking at each other (well I was not really standing was kind of crumpled in the living room but that’s off topic) and saying “what do we do??”. That was certainly up there in the top ten of my most scary moments and I don’t want it to happen again…EVER.

Driveway Safety

I read with horror last week that another toddler had been killed, after being run over in his driveway. It got me thinking, I had seen statistics that said this was a horribly common occurrence, so I did a little internet research and what I found was scarier then I thought.

The statistics are really scary basically in Australia, one toddler a WEEK is run over in their own driveway. To be honest if this statistic was a soldier in war being killed every week I am pretty sure the public would know about it and people would be screaming at the Government to do something.

The scary facts keep on coming too:

  • Most occur at the child’s home, or in the driveway of friends or relatives, where we tend to feel that the child is safe. Some also occur in backyards or car parks.
  • In most cases,the driver is a parent, relative or friend of the family.
  • Generally run overs involve young children under 5 years of age, but most are under 2 years of age.
  • The majority of vehicles involved are 4WD’s, utes, trucks, and vans, due to ‘blind spots’ and poor visibility, especially when reversing. However, sedans have also been involved.
  • In Australia, two-thirds of driveway run overs resulting in death have occurred in country areas.
  • Most driveway run overs occur during the day, particularly late afternoons between 3pm and 6pm. The most vulnerable period is late in the week – approaching and including the weekends.
  • Most run overs occur in fine weather and sunny conditions.
  • Young boys are at greatest risk.
  • 4WD vehicles are over-represented and possible linkages are demonstrated between the increasing popularity of 4WD’s and an increase in driveway accidents.2 4WD’s have blind spots whereby a toddler less than 3 metres from the vehicle is not visible to the driver. In Queensland cases, 41% of vehicles were 4WDs1, despite 4WDs making up only 6% of passenger vehicles in the state. Utes, vans and trucks are also involved more often than sedans, due to poor visibility from them. In 2000, the Henderson Report, commissioned by the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW, sparked a call to review safety standards for large vehicles.
  • In almost all cases, the environment provided no clear separation between the driveway, garage and rest of the yard where children played.

The saddest part is most driveway accidents are preventable.

Some tips to help prevent this from happening

  • Never leave a young child alone to play, especially near parked or moving vehicles.
  • Fencing, security doors, or gates can be used as barriers to reduce the risk of a young child getting to the driveway from the house.
  • In addition to providing barriers, some farming properties build a second driveway away from the house for farm vehicles to travel on.
  • Do not let a young child use the driveway as a play area. Create a safe play area away from the driveway.
  • Drivers should get into the habit of walking around their vehicle before getting into it when leaving an area where a young child is present.
  • Devices recommended for reducing the risk of driveway run overs use a combination of functioning proximity sensors and video cameras. Even when these are used it may be difficult to notice a small child until it is too late. It is important not to become complacent when using these devices.
  • If there is only one adult at home, and there is a need to move the vehicle, even for a small distance, ensure young children are placed securely in the vehicle with the adult, whilst the vehicle is being moved.
  • The driver should check that the car windows and mirrors are clean, and mirrors are positioned correctly for the driver’s height.

For more information please read these informative fact sheets put out by these great organisations

CARRSQ

Kidsafe SA

NRMA

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