Protection of yourself and your family – it’s the ideal at the heart of the survivalist mindset. There’s nothing more important, and all other things – food contingencies, shelter, weapons caching – are built around that goal.
In this article I want to explore some of the issues that can arise in relation to young children (including babies), teenagers and the elderly. It’s meant as an outline, rather than anything in-depth, but should give you a rough idea of the areas in which you may need to prepare further.
Babies and Infants
Breast Milk and Food:
The little ones present less of a problem than most people immediately assume. Breastfeeding, as long as the mother is well-fed, can carry on for as long as is needed until the baby is ready to be fully weaned (The World Health Organization outlines that in excess of two years is desirable). Obviously, including some formula in your emergency food supplies is a good idea, along with some baby food (though the transition to mashed-up adult food can occur as soon as possible.
Clothes and Nappies:
Cloth nappies are the obvious choice here but there are other synthetic options. Clothes, for as long as required, will need to be accounted for too.
A full contingency list of medications is an absolute must. Nappy rash, earache, teething pain….all necessary medicines should be stored in the appropriate quantity.
Warm clothing and transport:
You may also want to invest in a premium child carrier and some insulated clothing.
The issue here isn’t so much with practicalities – young children will be happy with the same food as you (more or less) and lower doses of adult medication – but rather one of resilience. Children in this age group are at their most vulnerable and may struggle to process the situation. A good grounding in survival basics will go a long way as will the security of food stockpiles and a safe retreat.
Smaller sleeping bags, warm clothing and familiar items should all ideally be provided.
Another potential concern – for both children and infants as mentioned – is clothes. Over a period of months, they’re going to outgrow everything that they’re able to wear, so it’s important to make some kind of allowance for that.
Teenagers are less of a problem. As long as they have some basic grounding in survivalism and contingency plans I find it unlikely that they will cause any major problems.
The Old and Infirm
The elderly, particularly those with complex medical needs, can cause a unique problem in a SHTF scenario. It’s a particularly thorny issue for many. There is a particularly distressing story of an older man dying from an infection in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina due to an inability to find basic medical supplies.
Complex medical needs:
If the intention is to seek out your retreat along with elderly family, or take them into your care during an emergency, then it can be possible to store at least a basic supply of the medicines that are needed – though an understanding of how to use them effectively is also vital.