9 Emergency Kit Essentials to Stock for Your Kids

Family Matters on 09.12.12
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If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, chances are you've been encouraged to build an emergency kit with the basic essentials for survival. Regardless of where you live, it is important to have a portable emergency kit in the event something leaves you without power or safe drinking water. It is really easy to put a basic kit together, and pre-made kits can even be purchased conveniently in backpack form.

There are many government resources that provide comprehensive lists for building your own kit.  Basic recommendations are to have enough food and water per person to last 72 hours, and first aid supplies. However, the supply lists are lacking when it comes to what special needs a small child may have in an emergency.

1. Kid Approved Shelf-Stable Food

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I know in a dire situation my toddler would eat an emergency food bar, but she definitely wouldn't enjoy it. Stock your kit with shelf-stable snacks they are likely to eat under normal conditions, like dried fruit, nuts, nut butters and flavorful granola-style bars. Cans of vegetables, foil pouches of chicken, and even squeezable baby food are great items that kids (and parents) will eat without making a fuss.

2. Hand-Cranked Lights

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Self-powered lights are not only safe for kids to hold and power, they reduce the risk of burns associated with using candles and eliminate the need for batteries which may not last for the entire time needed.  Having adequate light during an emergency situation can be especially comforting to small children, who may be afraid or get hurt in dark environments.

3. Kid-Friendly Activities

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Remember, you'll want to save your cell phone battery to keep family members informed of your situation or to be able to call 911 if needed, so those favorite kid apps won't be able to be used for entertainment purposes. Head to the dollar store to stock up on some stickers, bubbles, crayons and small games that can keep kids occupied and entertained for a long period of time when it might be dangerous to play outside.

4. Shelf-Stable Milk

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Whether your child drinks milk, non dairy milk, formula, or is breastfed, have a shelf-stable version in your kit. Ultra-high temperature cow's milk lasts for months without refrigeration. Premixed formula and bottles should also be on hand for infants and even breastfed babies -- breast milk can dry up under extremely stressful conditions. 

5. Childrens' Medications

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Most kits contain pain- and inflammation-relieving medications for adults. A bottle of children's over-the-counter pain medication, as well as an over the counter child's allergy medication, can keep your child more comfortable should they be injured or have an allergic reaction in a time when you can't get them to a doctor or a pharmacy.

6. Backup Lovey

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You might not have a chance to grab your child's special bedtime toy. Stash a backup version in your kit to provide much needed comfort and maybe help you child get to sleep if they can't get back to their bed. 

7. Diapers

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Even if your child is already potty trained, they can come in handy for all sorts of uses, like covering a large wound. If your child is in diapers, they are guaranteed to be put to good use. Remember to have enough on hand to last at least 3 days.

8. Baby Wipes

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It is impossible to have too many baby wipes under normal conditions. Most parents have learned that baby wipes have numerous uses. In an emergency they can be used to wash hands or to give yourself the semblance of a shower.

9. Warm Clothes

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It never hurts to have extra layers tucked away. I like fleece items because they are somewhat water repellent and dry faster than cotton. Stock up on hats, gloves, socks, zip up hooded jackets, and thin blankets during off-season sales. 

What items would make your kids more comfortable if you were effected by a natural disaster?

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