Baby Items to Always Have in your Emergency Baby Car Kit
Packing your Baby Car kit? Here’s What You Need.
If you have a baby, you ALWAYS need to be prepared. That’s a given. Babies throw a whole lot at you and for your own sanity, you will need to be ready.
An emergency baby car kit is something that needs to live in your car – always. That way, you will always be prepared. Simply replenish what you have removed, and you will never have to worry about the what-ifs.
Let me set the scene really quickly: You are planning a playdate for your baby. Both you and your baby are dressed up. You arrive at the playdate and realize that your baby had a diaper blowout on the ride over. It is NOT a pretty picture – particularly if you are not prepared! On the other hand, if you are prepared – even a diaper blowout is a problem you can solve quickly and easily.
What To Pack In Your Baby Car Kit?
You never know what can happen when you are out. That being said, you want to have things close by that can help you solve problems. Think of it as a Baby Emergency Kit, or perhaps an “Oh Crap Bag”.
Baby Car Kit Checklist
Here is a quick summary but below please find a little bit more details of why you should pack each of these things.
It doesn’t matter if you are cloth diapering your baby, or using disposable diapers. You will need several diapers.
If you think 5 diapers would be a fair number to pack, pack 10.
Keep in mind that younger babies go through more diapers than older babies.
Very importantly – babies grow fast. You will need to update your stash as your baby grows. It would not be helpful if your baby is in size 3 diapers, but when the emergency hits, all you have are newborn diapers. Cloth diapers are not sized as disposable diapers are, but you will need to consider this factor if your cloth diapers are sized, instead of one-sized diapers.
Cloth diapers are not sized as disposable diapers are, but you will need to consider this if your cloth diapers are sized, instead of one-size cloth diapers.
A Changing Mat
A changing mat is always a good idea for a baby car kit. You never know where you are going to need to change your baby – like in the trunk of your car on the side of a quiet road perhaps. We were on a road trip once and baby pooped. It reeked. All the other kids were complaining. We could not wait until the next stop because we were on one of those long stretches of road where the next gas station was not for many, many miles. (Also, he decided to poop right after we had just stopped – go figure.)
That was a difficult situation but there are easier situations when you still need a travel changing mat, like when you’re changing your baby on someone’s expensive couch.
Try to pack as many wipes as you possibly can. Wipes are not just for bottoms, but also for hands and faces and everything else. You will go through a lot. In my story above about the diaper blowout at the airport, I didn’t mention that when my son had his blow-out before we were supposed to board our international flight, I used ALL my wipes – in one go. I thought I had enough but there was so much poop and the poop was everywhere. Also, I didn’t double check my wipe stash before we left. I had been using the travel wipes on and off for some time – a wipe here, and few wipes there… I was “wiped” out when I needed it.
A useful tip is to get a travel wipe case that is flexible. There are travel wipe cases on the market that are good looking but not very practical. They’re hard and stiff and you can only get a few wipes into them. Also, when you try to pull the wipes out, the wipes break or a whole clump of them comes out. Choose wisely and don’t only consider the looks, but also the practicality.
Another important factor is – make sure the travel wipe case keeps your wipes moist. The last thing you want is dried out wipes when you need them most. When baby needs an emergency change, there are not always taps around.
A Change of Clothes For Baby
Your baby may not have a blowout, but they are bound to get themselves dirty. Younger babies may spit up, older babies may throw up or just mess all over themselves. Either way, be prepared with a seasonally appropriate change of clothes. It wouldn’t make a ton of sense to have a winter outfit for baby, in the middle of the summer. Therefore, you will need to change the clothes in your emergency baby car kit, at least twice a year.
When you are changing baby’s clothes for the season, make sure you are changing the size as well. Your 6-month-old will likely not fit into her newborn clothes anymore.
A Change of Clothes for YOU
If you have never gotten dirty at the hands of a baby, you are the luckiest person alive. (I bought a white dress before I got pregnant with my twins, and I didn’t wear it until after they turned 2 because I knew there was no chance of that dress staying white after the twins or any baby was done with me).
You’re going to get dirty. Accept it, it is a given. Prepare for it by having a simple change of clothes in your baby car kit. Whatever you pack will be entirely based on your personality and style but choose something that will go with most things you already wear. For example, if you wear gym shorts or yoga pants most days, then you’d likely want to pack a neutral colored t-shirt that will go with those pants.
Burp Cloths/ Bibs
If your baby is still very young, he/she will likely spit up a lot. This is normal – it comes with the territory. Be prepared and carry a burp cloth or two. Do not be fancy about this – just pack something simple yet effective.
You will want something that can effortlessly suck up everything.
You will also want a burp cloth that is not too thick because you will need it to easily slip under baby’s chin. These burp cloths are great because they’re thick enough to suck everything up and thin enough to fit under baby’s chin. They are also all natural and organic hemp.
If your baby is already on solids, get a bib or two. Yes, you have a change of clothes in case baby gets dirty, but having a bib is double protection for the inevitable mess.
Keep one in the car kit, even when it’s hot.
Baby blankets can be used to cover your baby or to lay on the ground for your baby to play on. It can also be used for padding under your changing mat.
Also consider that some buildings have their air conditioner up too high, and it may be cold in there… even in the summer.
Whether your baby is on a strict naptime schedule or not, always consider that your baby may take naps at unexpected times. Nap time may be at noon but if your baby had been running around in the park or taking a long car ride, he/she may need to take the regularly scheduled nap a little earlier. Keep this in mind and be prepared.
The idea of cleaning a dirty diaper, and not washing your hands right after, is not pleasant. But, it may happen if you’re changing a diaper on the side of the road. That’s why it is important to have hand sanitizer with you, always.
If your children are under 10, keeping a small bottle or tube in your purse is a wise thing to do.
Babies are always touching grimy things as well. When you’re out, cleaning their hands often with hand sanitizer, is a good habit to start.
During the summer months, keeping sunscreen in your emergency baby kit is a smart thing to do. If you do not apply sunscreen to your baby – or to yourself, you are likely to pay a price the next day.
Some kids get burned really quickly too. Children like that don’t need much exposure to the sun before they get burned. If you know that your child is at risk, be safe and always keep sunscreen in your emergency baby kit.
A Board Book and/or Toy
Some moms say to pack a toy that your baby loves. Some moms say to pack a brand new toy so that when you are in a situation where you need something that will grab baby’s attention, a new toy would be best. See what will work best for your baby.
A Pacifier and Pacifier Clip
Lots of babies use pacifiers. If your baby is one of the millions, make sure you have an extra pacifier in your baby emergency kit. You do not want to be ANYWHERE without a pacifier, when the only thing that could soothe your baby, is a pacifier.
For your sanity, get a pacifier clip too. As all moms would tell you – they are not expensive but they are worth every penny because baby’s spit out and lose pacifiers all the time. You do not want to be looking for a pacifier, or even find your baby’s pacifier laying on a dirty, grimy floor. When you have a pacifier clip, you always know where the pacifier is.
Yes, this is an obvious one.
You do not want to be anywhere, without water.
If you are breastfeeding, you need to constantly hydrate yourself. If your baby is formula fed, you will need sterile, filtered water if you’re making a bottle while away from home. Check that the water IS safe for formula feedings.
Baby Feedings: How to prepare?
Here is an important tip – practice at home with your nursing cover – more than once. If you are going to cover your baby in public for the first time when he/she is 6 months old, your baby is going to pull the cover down. They won’t be used to it and you will not be able to feed them in peace.
Formula Fed Babies
If your baby is formula fed, be sure to pack premade formula. If you don’t use premade formula, be sure to pack water, formula, and a clean baby bottle. Water that will be used for formula must be sterile.
Babies on Solids
DO NOT assume that you can get a spoon anywhere. Baby spoons are smaller than regular teaspoons and you will not be able to comfortably feed your baby with a regular spoon.
Where are you going to put it all in?
Obviously, there are a lot of things you will need. You’re going to need a good place to store everything.
Diaper bags are wonderful, period. However, even if you neatly place everything into a diaper bag, they don’t stay that way, especially if the bag doesn’t have a flat bottom. Things will get tossed around and when you actually need something, you may not be able to find it.
Boxes have flat surfaces so this is preferable. A box would be able to sit flat on the floor of your trunk. The hassle with a box is, you may not easily be able to carry it around because most boxes do not come with handles. They may not be able to hold up under the weight of all your stuff either. A box also doesn’t have compartments that could separate everything, and keep things organized.
A Diaper Caddy
A diaper caddy is probably your best bet if you consider all the things you need to be able to add into your cart kit. A diaper caddy:
- is big enough;
- has compartments to separate your things and keep them organized.
- is strong enough to hold everything;
- is easy to carry;
- won’t sag under a full load of your stuff;
- has a flat surface, and won’t fall over in a moving car.
A Final Note
I cannot stress the importance of being prepared when you have a baby.
With my first child, we took an international trip and he had a diaper blow-out before we got onto the outbound flight. In preparation for that trip, I thought I was prepared. I had diapers, wipes, medicines “for in case,” toys and snacks in our carry-on.
No change of clothes! I had to clean him in the airport toilet, and his first trip to a foreign country was with only a diaper. Imagine flying into a foreign country, with a half-naked baby. That was not a pretty lesson for me but it was a good one – now I’m always prepared.
I have another story similar to that. On another international trip, we were on our way to the airport. We live in Atlanta and if you know Atlanta at all, you will know that we have a problem with traffic. So we get stuck in traffic and the twins get cranky because they’re hungry. Since I was super prepared, I pulled out the baby food while my husband was driving. But, no baby spoon, anywhere! I wasn’t too worried at that point though. I figured once we’re on the flight, I’d use one of the teaspoons on the airplane. Once we were on the flight, however, it was a terrible time to learn that a standard size teaspoon is too big for a baby’s mouth. Yikes!
These were not fun incidences but they’ve taught me to be more prepared. Once you get the hang of this “motherhood” thing, being prepared will become second nature.