Keeping children safe during a flood

Flood water could contain sewage and contaminate drinking water. It's a threat to health and safety. You shouldn't let children play in flood water or in areas affected by flood water.

Flood water areas

Don't allow children to play in flood water areas. There might be hidden hazards such as missing manhole covers.  Disinfect or wash plastic toys in hot water if these were contaminated with flood water. You should always wash your child's hands before meals and often at other times.

Returning home after a flood

When you return to your home after a flood, to protect yourself and your children:

  • keep children and pets out of the affected area until the clean up is complete
  • don't let young children play on timber floorboards or any damaged tiled floors, they could get injured by sharp edges on tiles or raised nails
  • wash clothing, bedding and other soft/fabric articles (including children's toys) at 60°C or the highest temperature given on manufacturer's instructions
  • don't let young children play on affected grassed or paved areas until the area has been cleaned down and restored to its normal condition
  • make sure garages or cellars are well ventilated and aren't accessible to children and animals

Water for infants during flooding

A tanker with uncontaminated water is usually available to people living in an area affected by flood water.  If you live in an area where drinking water is interrupted or contaminated and use formula milk to feed your baby:

  • use tanker or bottled water, boiled and cooled for 30 minutes in a clean, covered container - then follow the instructions on making the feed
  • use ready-made formula milk as an alternative to powdered feeds

If you don't have gas or electricity to allow boiling:

  • use unboiled bottled water (table, spring or mineral water) to make a baby feed, but you must give the feed to the baby immediately
  • don't use unboiled tanker water 

Water for washing children

If the drinking water is unsafe, don't use domestic water to wash children.  Use tanker or bottled water. It's safe to use baby wipes for hand cleansing and washing children.

Buying bottled water

It is important to keep babies hydrated.

If you buy bottled water, check the sodium content level. Look at the label for sodium or `Na’ and check the level isn't higher than 200mg a litre.

If it's higher, buy different bottled water. If no other water is available, use this water for as short a time as possible. 

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