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Community protection for infants and young children in bushfire emergencies project

Babies and toddlers have unique needs and are vulnerable in disasters and emergencies such as bushfires.


Why is this project important?

Previous research has shown that Australia lacks proper planning for young children in emergencies. This means families faced with an emergency situation often struggle to get the support they need.

Project aims

ABA has responded to this lack of planning with the Community Protection for Infants and Young Children in Bushfire Emergencies Project. This project will:

  • develop an evidence base for planning for babies and young children in bushfires. 

  • increase community resilience to bushfires by ensuring the needs of babies and young children are met. 

  • support organisations and individuals to develop emergency plans for babies and young children. 

  • develop resources to support parents and emergency responders.

What is involved?

The project began in mid-2022 with research to gather the Black Summer Bushfire experiences of families with young children and the emergency responders who helped them. The research study was called the Babies and Young Children in the Black Summer (BiBS) Study. (See below for more information).

The implementation stage of the project is now well underway, with findings from the study being used to help community organisations and families in Eurobodalla Shire (NSW) to develop bushfire plans for babies and young children.

The knowledge gained and resources developed throughout the project will benefit families across Australia.

What have we learnt from the BiBS Study?

The experiences and views collected in the BiBS Study via a survey and interviews have now been analysed and a full report on the findings has been published.

The study found that the parents of babies and toddlers often had little time to evacuate, and that packing items for their children and themselves was difficult and caused delays. Parents also often evacuated without crucial items needed to care for their children (such as food or nappies).

Some pregnant women were delayed or prevented from evacuating because it was too dangerous, roads were cut, their advanced stage of pregnancy meant they could not drive, or they were already in labour. Those that were able to evacuate often did so later than they wanted to.

Evacuation centres could be difficult places for pregnant women and families with babies or toddlers, and even more so for mothers who evacuated alone with more than one child. They shared concerns about safety (due to strangers, pets and other hazards), cleanliness, unsafe sleep spaces, and the limited availability of resources such as toilets and hot water.

When asked what they would do differently, parents in the study said they would have an evacuation kit pre-packed for their child and would leave earlier. Those who could also said they would evacuate to a friend or family member's home, rather than an evacuation centre.


Our collection of resources for parents and anyone who supports families in emergencies or disasters is continually growing. Here you can download fact sheets, evacuation kit lists, project reports, social media templates and more.

Check back often to see what new resources we have created to support you in your role.

Interested in hearing more?

You can keep up to date with the latest news from the project on our Facebook and Instagram pages.


This project received grant funding from the Australian Government.

We also acknowledge the support of Western Sydney University during the Babies and Young Children in the Black Summer Study.

ABA research approval number 2022-05.

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