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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Emergency preparedness for those who care for infants in developed country contexts

Karleen D Gribble1* and Nina J Berry2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith NSW. 2751. Australia

2 Centre for Health Initiatives, University of Wollongong, NSW, 2522. Australia

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International Breastfeeding Journal 2011, 6:16  doi:10.1186/1746-4358-6-16

Published: 7 November 2011


Emergency management organisations recognise the vulnerability of infants in emergencies, even in developed countries. However, thus far, those who care for infants have not been provided with detailed information on what emergency preparedness entails. Emergency management authorities should provide those who care for infants with accurate and detailed information on the supplies necessary to care for them in an emergency, distinguishing between the needs of breastfed infants and the needs of formula fed infants. Those who care for formula fed infants should be provided with detailed information on the supplies necessary for an emergency preparedness kit and with information on how to prepare formula feeds in an emergency. An emergency preparedness kit for exclusively breastfed infants should include 100 nappies and 200 nappy wipes. The contents of an emergency preparedness for formula fed infants will vary depending upon whether ready-to-use liquid infant formula or powdered infant formula is used. If ready-to-use liquid infant formula is used, an emergency kit should include: 56 serves of ready-to-use liquid infant formula, 84 L water, storage container, metal knife, small bowl, 56 feeding bottles and teats/cups, 56 zip-lock plastic bags, 220 paper towels, detergent, 120 antiseptic wipes, 100 nappies and 200 nappy wipes. If powdered infant formula is used, an emergency preparedness kit should include: two 900 g tins powdered infant formula, 170 L drinking water, storage container, large cooking pot with lid, kettle, gas stove, box of matches/lighter, 14 kg liquid petroleum gas, measuring container, metal knife, metal tongs, feeding cup, 300 large sheets paper towel, detergent, 100 nappies and 200 nappy wipes. Great care with regards hygiene should be taken in the preparation of formula feeds. Child protection organisations should ensure that foster carers responsible for infants have the resources necessary to formula feed in the event of an emergency. Exclusive and continued breastfeeding should be promoted as an emergency preparedness activity by emergency management organisations as well as health authorities. The greater the proportion of infants exclusively breastfed when an emergency occurs, the more resilient the community, and the easier it will be to provide effective aid to the caregivers of formula fed infants.

disasters; emergencies; infant formula; artificial feeding; breastfeeding; emergency preparedness