Keeping Your Kids Safe in Bangkok

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Let me first make one thing clear: I believe that Bangkok is a wonderful city to live in and am proud to call it my home. I love the energy of this city. I love its mix of cultures and quirky brand of cosmopolitanism. I do believe that, with its excellent international schools and healthcare, it’s a great place to raise children and to teach them about the world.

Keeping kids safe in Bangkok Thailand

Nevertheless, as any expat around here would tell you, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing as of late. To say that the last four years have had some difficult moments would be a gross understatement. Though Bangkok is generally a fairly safe place, there have been times where I have to admit that I’ve been scared. Whenever there’s any kind of massive disruption, be it manmade or natural, the first thing that runs through my mind is What about my kids?

When you’re in the middle of a potentially dangerous or uncertain situation, it’s hard to think straight. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to consider in case of emergency.

DO talk to your children about what’s going on. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from having kids, it’s that they’re smarter than many people give them credit for. Young children are natural empaths, and even if they don’t understand exactly what’s going on, they’re going to sense that something isn’t right. Talk to them instead of trying to pretend everything is completely normal.

DON’T let them see you panic or tell them everything. As stated above, you should be upfront that things are different. Try not to show too much alarm and discuss what you’re going to say with your partner beforehand.

DO have a buddy system and a backup. One of the best things about Bangkok is how willing both expats and Thais are to help each other. Come up with at least two emergency contacts who would be able to temporarily take care of your children should something happen.

DON’T wait until something happens to make a plan. Talking about emergency preparations is a whole lot more unsettling when there’s an actual emergency underway. Try to take a moment when everything is relatively calm to discuss, step-by-step, exactly what to do in different scenarios.

DO have a go-bag. This is such an easy thing to do and offers so much peace of mind. Pack a backpack or a small duffel with the bare essentials–toothbrush, a couple pairs of underwear, cash, spare credit card etc. You don’t need to put your passport and important documents in the bag, but have them all in a safe, easily accessible place. You should be able to leave your house in less than 10 minutes in case of emergency.

DO have a designated escape route. In case your family members are separated, have predetermined meeting points. In case of serious situations, have an out-of-town destination (Hua Hin was always our go-to).

DO make sure your children know who to contact and where to go. They should not have to think in the midst of a crisis. Devise a set procedure with ordered steps. Quiz them on it and have miniature drills if necessary. Try not to be melodramatic when doing any of this–you don’t want to scare your kids. Follow emergency practice runs with something fun and soothing.

Photo copyright 2013 Andrew Chatman

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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