Tornado Preparedness With a Toddler


I was sitting at home one evening when it happened: I got that blaring alert on my phone: “Attention: Tornado Warning.”

We had tracked the storm’s activity all day and were aware that the storm probably wasn’t actually in our area, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. This was also a wonderful teaching moment for my two-year-old.

I already told her that we might play a game later where we’d need to sit in the closet for a while. So I turned to her and in a cheery voice announced it was time to play the “special game.” We already have a Go Bag packed, so we grabbed that and headed to the bedroom. Since our house doesn’t have a closed-off hallway, I figured a closet would be best to contain my toddler’s infinite energy. I chose the bedroom closet because it’s the largest and the cleanest with virtually nothing stored on the floor.

We grabbed the comforter, some blankets and pillows off the bed, and settled into our hiding spot. I already had some light-up toys in a bag stored in there. Since my daughter doesn’t have a problem with being in the dark, I decided to keep the light off so we could play with the toys and sing songs.

The Go Bag had some water and a few easy snacks inside. Eventually, she fell asleep and I was surprised by how fast the 30 minutes passed. Most importantly, now we are both more prepared and mentally ready if we in fact have a tornado headed our way in the future.

What to Put in a Tornado Go Bag

If you check out the website Ready, it recommends a basic list of items to have in a disaster supply kit.

Those items include (but are not limited to):

  • Water
  • Food
  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cell phone with charging cord

Here is what I included in my toddler’s bag, in addition to the recommended items above:

  • Sippy cup
  • Apple sauce pouches
  • Crackers/Goldfish
  • Pull-Ups
  • Baby Wipes
  • Light up toys
  • Stuffed animal
  • Blanket
  • Books

If you are looking for more information on how to be prepared for a tornado, check out 10 Tips for Keeping Children Safe During a Tornado, which includes tips for parents. 

How do you prepare your family for a tornado?

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Caitlyn is a Columbia native and a graduate of Richland County School District One. After high school she built a career as a nationally certified optician and contact lens technician. Caitlyn studied Mandarin Chinese as a part of a Christian Outreach Program which gave her the opportunity to complete missionary trips to San Francisco, New York, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Belize. The birth of her daughter in the Spring of 2020 inspired her to pursue her dream career of becoming a published author. Her daily struggles as a new mother with a chronic illness in the midst of a pandemic lead to the creation of her children’s book Some Days at the beginning of 2021. She then launched her own publishing company Artist Madrid Books with the goal to help other local aspiring authors accomplish their publishing goals. She loves spending time in nature with her husband, daughter, family, and friends. When not busy navigating motherhood, being a small business owner, entrepreneur, and student, she enjoys exploring her creative talents.


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