It's hurricane season here in Florida. It's important to be prepared for hurricanes and any severe weather as it approaches. In these circumstances we prepare for power outages, high water and high winds. However, if you have children it is also important to prepare for how to help your child through the storm and how to help your child sleep safely and sleep well severe weather.
Tips for severe weather and sleep:
We MUST put safety first – this means safety before sleep. While we know our children and babies need rest, let’s put their safety first. If there were ever a time to make some exceptions to your little one’s sleep, this is the time.
If you are concerned about high winds, you might consider boarding your windows. It is also a good idea to put your child to sleep in a safe space in the house. In our home, this is a large closet under the stairs (with added circulation). You'll want to select the innermost room, with no windows, on the lowest floor.
For toddlers and older children, take the fear out of it by making it a fun camping experience. Break out a battery operated camping lanterns or flashlights. Use blow up mattresses or sofa pillows to make beds.
For babies, keep them safe in a portable crib and maintain sleep safety. This is not a time to begin bed sharing.
In case of a power outage, we don’t want our babies to overheat or to get too cold, so prepare ahead of time. Here in Florida, we are concerned about the heat. Overheating is a safety concern. The AAP recommends an optimal safe sleep temperature between 68-72 degrees. If you think it might get too warm or too cold in a power outage – prepare! Consider battery operated fans to keep your little ones and your home cooler.
I tend to lower the temperature in the house ahead of the hurricane or storm and put them to bed in light clothing with anticipation of a power outage. If you are in a colder climate and are worried about it becoming too cold in the house in you might consider raising the temperature a bit ahead of the storm and putting them to sleep in warmer clothes.
After the storm:
If sleep is missed during the storm. Be sure to make up for it after the storm passes. Making up for lost sleep is best done with an early bedtime. Depending on how much sleep has been missed, you might consider an early bedtime for a night or two after the storm passes.
Aside from your little one’s sleep, have a full family plan. There are some great resources at the American Red Cross to guide you and to what supplies you may need in case of an emergency. Don’t forget the extra water and non-perishable foods! Also don’t forget to check your local municipalities for evacuation routes and shelters and to stay up to date on the emergency situation.
Wishing you rest,
Certified Child Sleep Consultant
Smart Night Sleep
**Based in Orlando, Florida but works with families worldwide.