Summer is coming and school is winding down or is already over for some of you (unless you homeschool year-round like us). Now comes the season of trips to the lake, park, and family barbeques. Summer is often a busy season with a lot of time away from home. When away from the comfort of your home, you will depend on what you bring with you to get you through all of the mini-emergencies that come with having kids. That is when an emergency kit for your van will come in handy!
The last decade as a mom has taught me that we often need the unexpected when on a day trip or even on short drives to run errands with (or without) kids! Motion sickness, diaper blow-outs, a dead car battery, spilled soda, and even paper cuts need immediate attention. You simply cannot afford to be without an emergency kit for your van. There are several items I have found to be important to always have on hand.
First, choose a container or basket that is short enough to slide under your van seat, or fit nicely in the cargo space in the back. We use a very common laundry basket, but I plan to someday buy a container that will fit under the bench seat in our full size van.
Keep your emergency items organized and compact. Separating items by type and putting each in Ziploc storage bags will be helpful. Label them if applicable. The most important thing to remember is to replace any item you use as soon as possible so that you are never caught off guard!
Emergency Kit For Your Van
If you have babies in diapers, sometimes you stay away from home longer than you planned or packed your diaper bag for. In this case, keeping 2 diapers (in each size needed – for multiple children) in a Ziploc bag is a life saver. Also, when you have young potty-trained toddlers and they really need to go in the middle of a 3-hour drive with no restroom in sight, pulling over on the side of the road and putting a diaper on them to use, is a quick fix. Yes, we have done this! Along the same line of thought: keep extra undies for the toddlers and garbage bags for keeping the soiled undies in the emergency kit for your van.
It goes without saying that baby wipes are a necessary item. We use them for everything. Keeping a package in your emergency kit for your van is a must (Kirkland Signature brand are perfect for this)! You never know when you’ll need to wipe up a spilled drink, wash hands after using a roadside restroom, or clean up vomit.
First Aid Kit
Most people have a First Aid Kit in their vehicles, but as parents, you need to customize a kit just for your family. Have children with anaphylactic food allergies? You’ll want to keep an Epi-Pen in your kit. Know that a family member suffers from Hay Fever? Keep appropriate treatment in your kit. Want to be able to soothe a sunburn? Include Aloe Vera Gel.
Whether it is travel size bottles of essential oils, homemade healing salve, or packets of Akla-seltzer and Aspirin, only you know what your family needs. Do not simply buy a ready-made First Aid Kit and put it in your van, unopened and un-customized!
A very reliable and bright flashlight along with extra batteries is a must-have in a emergency kit for your van. Whether you need to take a closer look to see what is ailing your crabby baby or help your husband see while changing a flat tire in the middle of nowhere in the dark, you’ll be thankful you have that little modern convenience.
A few of our kids get horrible motion sickness. Almost every time we drive for more than 15-minutes, a child is certain to need to vomit. We’ve tried several ways to be ready for such an unpleasant episode. The best trick so far has been keeping gallon size Ziploc bags on hand. We give each child one to keep near them and then keep extras in our emergency kit. What is really neat about this otherwise gross situation, is that once the vomiting is done you can seal the bag and toss it at the next stop. Keeping a roll of paper towels in the emergency kit for your van is also a good idea.
Battery Jumper Cables
Keeping battery jumper cables in the emergency kit for your van is a must. You never know when the kids (or you) will forget a light on. When you come back out of Costco after an exhausting shopping experience only to find the van battery dead, you’ll be thankful to have the battery jumper cables. Even if you don’t know how to use them, there will (hopefully) be someone else around who does.
There have been so many times over the years when our emergency kit has saved us from making bad situations even worse! It is a simple way to make summer road trips and outings with kids a little less stressful. Even if you never have to use your custom emergency kit for your van, you‘ll be glad it‘s there just in case.