Let me be clear: this is not an emergency bag for traditional emergencies like car accidents, heart attacks, or other medical emergencies. This is an emergency bag for your kids who are still in diapers or otherwise still a walking time bomb for wardrobe disasters and epic moody meltdowns (on second thought, maybe there needs to be a guide for teenagers, too…).
1. Food Source/Snacks
Yes, sometimes snack time is an emergency. If you have an infant, always keep an unopened travel sized package of formula or ready-to-feed formula bottle – even if you’re breastfeeding – in your car’s emergency bag. What if something happens to you and your baby is hungry ASAP? Your partner or whoever takes over childcare duties will be grateful you thought ahead. If you have a toddler, keep juice boxes, a water bottle, and pre-packaged snacks in your car at all times. Who wants to deal with a cranky, hungry toddler at a crowded store? Not me!
Baby wipes are essential long past the diaper stage. Make sure you keep a pack on hand in the bag at all times.
3. Cloth diaper
You may not cloth diaper, but you should keep a 1 clean cloth diaper per kid in your car’s emergency bag because 1) it can fit a baby or toddler of any size, 2) you are probably not going to remember or have time to rotate diaper inventory in your emergency survival kit. You’ll be so happy when you run out of diapers and you have the cloth, one size fits all diaper at your disposal. And, if you don’t want to keep it after, throw it out! It’s not about being eco-friendly in this case – it’s about not having human waste all over yourself and your carseats. KWIM?
4. Spare clothes
Always, always, always have a change of clothes for your kids AND yourself! That diaper shitsplosion might just make its way onto your shirt, too, and you’ll be glad you had something to change into so you don’t have to cut your trip short. I mean, getting the kids out was a feat in itself – do you really want to go home for a wardrobe change? YOU MAY NEVER MAKE IT OUTSIDE AGAIN!
Kids get cold. Kids get tired. Kids want cozy, snuggly blankets to keep them comfortable.
6. Hand sanitizer
The last thing you need is to get your kids sick because you had to do three diaper changes then distribute snacks/bottles/drinks. Wash your hands, you filthy animal.
7. Disaster bags
Affectionately called “disaster bags” by my husband, Arm & Hammer makes awesome baking soda infused trash baggies for diapers and other smelly kid waste. Perfect for when you can’t find a trash can immediately but don’t want to stink up your car.
You never know when a fever or allergic reaction can occur. Always have Benadryl and a pain reliever ready for use. This means having a clean syringe or spoon handy, too, to administer the medicine if need be.
9. New toy
Sometimes, your kids will have meltdowns. No, nobody wants to reward bad behavior, but you also don’t want to have “that” kid in the restaurant. Use a new toy as a weapon against meltdowns.
Sometimes, we get dehydrated chasing these kids around. Keep a bottle of water for yourself in the car. It will keep you going and prevent you from paying $3/bottle out of sheer desperation and thirst.