Build a Car Kit
A few years ago, my husband took both boys with him on an outing to Costco. On the way, my younger son, who was about 9 months at the time, had a HUGE poopsplosion in his car seat. It was everywhere – all over my son’s outfit, and all over the carseat. My husband had the diaper clutch with him, but not the full diaper bag. That meant he had diapers and wipes, but no change of outfit. Being the resourceful Dad he is, he did not let this deter him. He wrapped the baby up in a blanket, took both kids into Costco, and bought a new outfit for the baby. He got him dressed, and carried on with his shopping! The result was a new rule – we now have a fully stocked car kit that we always keep in the car.
Why Build a Car Kit
The idea of the car kit is to be able to deal with any kid-related situation that might arise when we’re out and about. A lot of the items we keep in our car kit are duplicated in my diaper bag or any lunch bag we may bring with us, but I’d rather have too much than too little! I can’t tell you how many times this has saved us. From potty training accidents at the playground, to a juice spill at the beginning of an Ikea trip, to having food available when they’re suddenly hangry, it’s nice to know that we always have certain items on hand.
How to Build a Car Kit
Our car kit has evolved as we’ve added kids to our family, and the kids have grown. This is what we have in our current car kit, with three kids, ages 5, 3, and 9 months:
- A change of clothes for all kids. Even the five year old. Because life happens, and sometimes your brother spills orange juice all over you. We use clothes that are worn out, not their favourites, or in my daughter’s case, hand-me-downs from her brothers that I might not put her in otherwise.
- A muslin blanket. We use these for light blankets, swaddles, nursing covers, or a thin shopping cart cover.
- Burp cloth. I use cloth diapers as burp cloths and LOVE them. They’re super absorbent, and have lasted through three kids now with no issues. These can also be used to clean up any spills in a pinch.
- Food. I throw in a bunch of snack-type food, as well as some drinks. These are snacks that I don’t let them have that often, so I keep this out of sight, or they will beg for something “from the bin” every time we get in the car!
- Spoons. For their fruit cups, and because we always seem to need one when we’re out and about.
- Grab & Go Play Packs. These are great for entertaining kids at restaurants, or whenever you need them to be patient. Inside there’s a little colouring book, crayons, and some stickers. My kids always get them in goody bags, and you can also find them at the dollar store (and apparently on Amazon).
- A Ziploc Bag. To bring home any wet clothing.
- Diapers, Pull-Ups & wipes. Just in case I forget to restock the diaper bag (or my husband goes out without it).
- Nursing pads. Because I’m one of the lucky ones that has to use these almost the entire time I’m breastfeeding.
Other items that you may want to include are:
- Seasonal clothing, like mittens and toques in the winter, and hats or bathing suits in the summer.
- Warm clothes or outerwear, like hoodies or rain jackets, if you have extras.
- Sunscreen (this is always in our summer bin).
- An extra shirt for Mom (this was crucial for me back when I had a baby who liked to spit up).
- Paper towels or napkins (we have some in the front of the van, so they’re readily accessible when the inevitable spills occur!).
- Basic first aid items, like bandaids.
- Any medication like you like or need to keep on you (of course, only if it can withstand the range of temperatures that you’re going to encounter in the car).
Everything gets packed into a bin, and stored in the back of our minivan. I make sure to re-stock the bin if I take something out, and also go through the entire bin with each change of seasons, and swap things out as needed.
Is there anything that you always keep on hand that I haven’t included?