How to Create an Emergency Car Kit for Babies and Toddlers
If you have little ones in your family, have you considered making some additions to the gear you keep in your vehicle? Small children aren’t just tiny adults. Here’s how to create an emergency car kit for babies and toddlers that keeps in mind their unique needs.
Food and Water for Your Emergency Car Kit for Babies
Depending on your child’s age, you may need specific food or drinks just for them. If mom isn’t around, infants may require formula, while toddlers are generally fine with water. You’ll also need to take into account how your little one drinks. Does he or she still use a bottle or have they graduated to a sippy cup? Make sure that you have the right way for them to drink. The situation is probably already stressful or you wouldn’t be cracking into the emergency kit. Keep things to be as familiar as possible.
Dry formula powder that is to be mixed with water will last longer in your vehicle. However, if it’s the summer and the formula will be exposed to extremely hot temperatures, your shelf-life will drop dramatically. Also, consider adding some Pedialyte to the kit for replacing electrolytes on a hot day. This is available as a powder or already mixed up in sealed bottles.
As far as food is concerned, this too will depend on your baby’s age. Children old enough to gnaw on solids might enjoy some graham crackers or arrowroot cookies, whereas younger children may still be eating only purees. If your little one doesn’t have the chompers for solids, add some jars of baby food and a baby-sized spoon to your kit. Go with items that are less likely to spoil – applesauce, pureed green beans, etc.
Keep in mind any allergies your child may have when stocking your car. If your child hasn’t yet been exposed to common allergens like milk, eggs, or nuts, consider leaving those out of your kit for adults, too. The last thing you want is a medical emergency on top of the crisis that has you stranded in your car.
What’s the weather like where you live? Your emergency car kit for babies will need to change with the seasons so that you’re prepared for whatever weather you happen to encounter. Infants, in particular, are not great at moderating their body temperatures, which means you have to be prepared to help them do so.
Emergency Car Kit for Babies: Hot Weather
Babies are more sensitive to hot weather and more prone to heat-related illnesses. Therefore, it’s essential to keep them cool and hydrated. The more upset they get and the more they cry, the hotter they’ll get, so keeping them entertained is also important.
As long as you are staying inside your vehicle protected from the sun, strip them right down to their diapers to help keep them cool. Use some of your water and a washcloth to dampen their hair and skin. This helps with evaporative cooling. Another excellent option is cooling towels. You simply get them wet, snap them, and they are cool on contact. These can help little ones remain cooler.
You should also have children’s sunscreen and sun-protective clothing and hats for little ones to protect their delicate skin, in the event you have to leave the vehicle.
Emergency Car Kit for Babies: Cold Weather
In cold climates, you’ll want to be able to keep your baby warm and dry. A warm snowsuit and boots are a good start. If your climate is extremely cold, consider a larger-sized snowsuit that you can layer over their regular one. Also, be sure to have protective clothing for extremities, such as thick booties and mittens. And of course, don’t forget a hat that pulls down over little ears. Other items you may want to add are air-activated warmers for mittens and socks to keep extremities cozy.
Something to Do
For slightly older children, you’ll want to have something for them to do. If you’re stuck waiting for a tow truck for two hours, your wait will be far more pleasant if they’re entertained.
Many vehicles are now equipped with DVD players for movies, but if you’ve had car trouble you won’t want to drain your battery powering it. If you require an electronic option, something like a tablet with some favorite movies or shows saved to the hard drive may work best. Keep this fully charged.
Potentially better options are non-electronic toys like games, coloring books and crayons, or imagination toys. Flashcards can be a lot of fun for a toddler. If you see things your child might like at a dollar store or secondhand store, stash it in the trunk so that it’s fresh and new if you need to keep them occupied.
Transportation on Foot
In most cases, remaining with your vehicle is the safest option. However, there are exceptions. If it isn’t safe to remain in your car, you’ll want an easy way to transport your child if you have to set off on foot.
A backpack carrier or a babywearing wrap might be your best option for infants and smaller children. If your child is bigger and too heavy to carry far, consider keeping a stroller in your vehicle at all times. The strollers with big knobby, off-road wheels allow you to navigate a variety of terrains. In areas with lots of snow, you may want to consider a sled you can strap your little one into and pull behind you.
Don’t forget any other regular supplies your child might need. Include items such as medications, allergy pills, band-aids, diapers, wipes, and topical treatment for heat or diaper rashes.
If your little one uses a pacifier, be sure to keep a few spares. Watch out for hot weather, though. Extreme heat can weaken the rubber on a pacifier, causing it to become a choking hazard.
Have You Made an Emergency Car Kit for Babies and Toddlers?
If you made a kit for your vehicle with the specific needs of your baby or toddler in mind? Did we overlook any necessities? What do you consider essential for an emergency car kit for babies? Share your thoughts in the comments.