Anyone who lives in the Midwest has most likely as some point experienced severe weather. As a mother of three small children, I know how difficult it can be to get everyone to safety when severe weather strikes.

Oklahoma has been battered with a constant stream of severe weather these past few weeks, with a tornado dropping down just miles away last week. This caused me to rethink my safety plans and how I would get my children to safety. With my husband working outside of the home, it is important for me to have an effective plan in place to get all children to safety without the help of my husband. There is a chance that he may not make it home in time to help, so the kids and I would be left alone.

To help ensure we have a good plan in place we do “practice runs” to our storm shelter and have for the past 3 years. Our shelter is located a small run from our home, about 300 feet, but it the safest place to be if a tornado warning were to be issued. With three children under 6, how would I get to the shelter while holding two toddlers and making sure my “big girl” was right behind me, while still being able to open the storm shelter door?  In comes our safety plan. These plans are perfect for any type of severe weather that would require you to get your entire family to a safe location.

Use a Baby Carrier

Just two years ago I had a 4-month-old, 15-month-old, and 4-year-old and had to get to our storm shelter alone. What did I do? I put on my Moby Wrap. Any style baby carrier would work here, but the point is to get your infant safely-contained and leave you with free hands for your child(ren) and anything else. We used this a couple of times, and during one storm my smallest  actually slept through the whole ordeal!

Even though my children are now older and walking, I still employ the carrier with my toddler. Severe weather can make little ones scared, and they may not move very quickly. If you do not have a carrier, you will want to do some practice runs with the kids to make sure everyone knows what to do. The more comfortable they are with the plan, the less likely they will be to freeze when a severe weather warning comes in.

Stock Up and Practice

If you have an indoor shelter, or safe place such as a closet or bathtub, you will still want to do practice procedures with your children. It won’t be as frightening because they will not have to exit the home into the weather, but the whole situation can still be scary. This is why it is important to have everything prepared ahead of time. Have flashlights ready, pillows and blankets already located in your safe area, and helmets if you do not have a storm shelter.

If you are using a bathtub or closet as your safe room, purchase helmets for everyone to wear. If your kids play sports you can use old sports helmets or bike helmets for this purpose. If not, purchase storm-only helmets and have them in your safe area. If you see that a severe storm warning is nearing your area, suit up everyone in their helmets so that you aren’t trying to secure them last minute.

The key to a great safety plan is making sure everyone in the family knows the plan and is ready to follow through, and having as much preparations ready beforehand.

Have you had to deal with severe weather with children? What are some of your tips?