How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Pack an Emergency Box

When you have young children, you always have to think in worst case scenarios. A diaper blowout, accident or mess is bound to happen — maybe even multiple times. There will be sticky fingers, messy mouths, and probably some spills and boo-boos. Don’t get caught unprepared.

Pack an Emergency Box or Two!

Think of all the things that might go wrong and items you’d want to have on hand if there is a diaper blowout, accident, mess or someone gets sick. Pack these items into a tub to keep on hand — just in case. You might not end up using everything (let’s hope you don’t have to!), but you’ll likely end up very glad you thought ahead and brought at least some of these things.

For instance, we brought a thermometer and infant and children’s medicines. We were glad we did because all three children ended up getting fevers on our trip!

This time around, I actually packed two “Emergency Boxes” — one that I kept near the front seat and a medicine container I kept packed in the suitcase. Here are the items these boxes contained:

Travel Emergency Box

Plastic Bags (for trash or diapers)
Lysol Wipes
Huggies Wipes
Ziploc Baggies
Hand Sanitizer
Lip Gloss

Medicine/Hygiene Box

Infant Pain Reliever
Children’s Advil
Travel sizes of Shampoo/Conditioner
Motrin PM
Body Wash
Fingernail Polish Remover

Make sure your diaper bag is also packed with an extra outfit(s), diapers, wipes, plastic bags and a diaper changing pad, in addition to the items you usually keep in the diaper bag.

How do you prepare for emergencies on trips? Share your ideas in the comments!

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Other posts in the Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children series

  1. How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Be Organized When Packing
  2. How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Pack an Emergency Box
  3. How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Bring Some Good Books & Audios

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  1. Rachelsuesmom says

    I leave most of the medicines / thermometers / etc mentioned above packed in a “bathroom” bag in the closet with the rest of the suitcases. Then I never have to worry about forgetting something important when packing, I just have to check expiration dates a couple of times a year.

    Emergency kits aren’t just for long trips, though! I have always kept a gallon ziploc bag in each trunk (including Grandma and Grandpa’s cars) with a spare outfit, correct size diaper (when it was applicable) and wipes. When the seasons change, the emergency kits get updated with temperature appropriate clothing in the correct size, and these kits saved me so many headaches over the years, I can’t begin to count!

  2. Wendy S says

    Just remember medicine’s effectiveness is greatly reduced by heat. just and FYI.

    I have my emergency kit – a small diaper bag that always has diapers in it -in case I forget my real one. It also has single use antibiotic ointment and bandaids. Int he back of my van I have toilet paper (I grew up in a 3rd world country where bathrooms sometimes didn’t have toilet paper – so it’s a personal weirdity of mine) – I also ahve a blanket, and a bin full of extra pairs of underwear for al children in their sizes, jeans, shirts, sweat shirts. I can’t tell you how many times we raid it – accident with child recently potty trained (raid the bin) – went to a museum, had outdoor playground – kids fell in mud (raided the bin), forgot my diaper bag – pulled out the extra van one, I have even given undies to a friend who’s child had an accident and she had no spare. We get somewhere and it’s chillier than we thought – raid the bin, or maybe it was warmer than we thought, raid the bin…. :) It has come in quite useful over hte years. When you change out your children’s clothing sizes – remember to restock the bin.

  3. erica says

    wow, so many great tips, i had to add one for those of you who get car-sick kids: Have them wear one of the plastic bibs with the pocket to catch food (only you’ll be catching it on the way back up). They are easy to wipe out with napkins or rinse out in a sink.

    We did this after my 2 year old got sick in the car, and we had already changed him into outfit #2 on the side of the road. He was so young that he couldn’t predict or verbalize what was about to happen or figure out how to deal with it. It saved a car seat and what would have been 3 more sets of clothes.

  4. Tabatha says

    My husband also packs his own emergency box which includes tools for the road. He includes anything he might need to fix something on the car like jumper cables, screwdriver set, extra fluids like oil and power steering among other things. This emergency box has actually been used more than our other emergency boxes and not just for our car either! We’ve been able to help others because of it!

  5. says

    I’m a huge fan of the emergency box. In addition to the medicine box and the clean essentials box I keep a rainy day box in our pop-up camper filled with the playdoh that never dries out, puzzles from the Dollar Tree, a box of crayons, travel battleship, travel connect four. Every year I replace one of the games with a new game just for something new. The play-doh is always a hit even when my teenagers were living at home.

  6. Shelby says

    An emergency kit for carsick kids is a must in our family. Latex gloves to wear during cleanup, plastic bags for clothes covered in vomit, clean changes of clothes, emesis bags to vomit it, wet wipes, disinfectant, a water bottle for your kids to rinse out their mouth, and some air freshener!

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