For moms, an emergency car kit is vital.
Sometimes my car feels like a mix of trashcan on wheels and mobile triage unit. Kids fall down, diapers leak, and the unexpected becomes routine. When I tried to find ideas for car emergency kits I found that most seemed to be preparing for a month in the woods or a zombie apocalypse rather than the everyday disasters of being a mom on the go. I don’t drive a cargo van; I cannot imagine where I would put five gallons of water, four sleeping bags, and the equivalent of a small auto parts store in my mid-size car.
I wanted to know what would give me the most bang for my buck and my space, weather dependent.
For your year-round kit
- Cash: $20 in small bills and change
- Duct tape: Is there anything it can’t do?
- First aid kit: Keep it basic; bandages of various sizes, antiseptic wipes, sting/itch relief, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, pain relief, and allergy relief.
- Hand sanitizer
- Headlamp or small flashlight: I love a headlamp for its size and it’s hands-free usefulness.
- Jumper cables or battery starter: And instructions on how to use them
- Kid essentials: Diapers, wipes, change of clothes, a few small toys, granola bars
- Laminated list of important phone numbers: Nobody memorizes numbers anymore
- Manual breast pump: Say what?! If you’re not breastfeeding you obviously don’t need this, but if you are it may be something you haven’t thought of. The last thing you need if you get stuck somewhere for multiple hours is to deal with engorgement.
- Multi-tool (or at the very least, a screwdriver): I once had my windshield wiper get stuck hanging halfway off my car in the middle of a torrential downpour.
- Paracord: Extremely compact rope that can hold a lot of weight.
- Pen and paper
- Phone charger: A portable one that runs on batteries is best in an emergency. Make sure you have extra batteries.
- Roadside assistance card
- Towel: Useful for everything from poopsplosions to grease wiping to impromptu picnic blanket
- Window breaker / seat belt cutter: Keep this somewhere easily accessible, but where it won’t fly out of reach in an accident.
There are some items that only serve to take up space for most of the year, so change them out as needed.
Warm weather additions
- Bug spray: I once had to walk a mile through tall grass after our car broke down, and when I finally got to a bathroom I counted seven ticks on me. Seven. Ticks.
- Cooling towel
- Spray bottle: If you’re stuck somewhere hot you can give yourself an occasional spritz to help cool off.
Cold weather additions
- Collapsible shovel: Speaking from personal experience, make sure you know how to lock it in place before you need it.
- Extra set of hats, socks, and gloves for everyone
- Hand warmers
- Ice scraper with snow brush
- Reflective blanket
One final thought
The best way to prepare for emergencies is to avoid them in the first place. Make sure you have at least one good weather alert app on your phone. It should update based on your current location and be customizable to the alerts you want to hear.