This post is by Bernie Carr,
An emergency can happen while your child is away at school, traveling with you on the way to a sports event or spending time with a relative who may not be as prepared as you’d like. Not too long ago, heavy flooding from a storm in Houston prevented parents from picking up their children. They were stuck at school as late as 11 pm. An emergency backpack would come in handy for such a situation.
What to include in a child’s emergency backpack
This backpack will be designed to provide your child with necessities until help comes or you are able to pick them up.
Water is heavy but necessary. Include enough water to last for three days. Small water bottles will suffice. If your child is older, you can also include a water filter bottle or portable water filter such as the LifeStraw.
Pack portable food such as granola bars, cheese and crackers.
Mini first aid kit
The most basic items in a mini first aid kit are adhesive bandages, wound ointment such as Neosporin.
Items for warmth
Include a small blanket and gloves to help your child stay warm.
In case power goes out, include a mini flashlight.
Include a whistle so they have something to signal for help if stuck in an out of the way place so rescuers can find them. It should be large enough that small children will not try to swallow it.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, wet wipes, pack of tissues, lip balm, antibacterial gel.
Include an N-95 mask and instruct your child on when and how to use it.
Entertainment and comfort
This is an age related category. Include a coloring book, mini stuffed animal or toy that’ll provide comfort.
A personal letter from you and a family photo are also nice touches.
Backpack emergency card
Include an emergency information card that includes your contact name, address and phone number as well as out of town emergency contact. You can find a sample here.
Depending on the age of your child, you will need to explain each item and its uses. Assure them you will be picking them up as soon as you can.
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Use items you already have
Before going out shopping, check your closets for things you already own. For the backpack itself, use a backpack your child may already own from a previous grade.
You can often get freebies at the dentist or doctor’s office. Many dentists give a free toothbrush, mini toothpaste and floss after the annual or semi-annual teeth cleaning. Doctors’ offices give out free samples as well. I have received mini soap bars, mini antibacterial gels, disinfecting wipes etc.
Shop for bargains
Many of these items can be found in dollar stores or discount stores. I also found gloves and backpacks at our local Goodwill store and they still unused with original store tags.
Sometimes you get discounts if you buy in bulk. For example, if you buy a 3-pack of mini flashlights, you can use one for each child in your family or split with another parent.
Hopefully these ideas will help you create your child’s emergency backpack. It’s be fortunate if they never have to use it, but at least they have one in case an emergency happens.
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