Every Autumn as the leaves begin to change colors, kids head back to school and I attempt to get our lives back on an organized, well run schedule. I also always try to make time to go through and update our emergency kits so that we'll be organized and prepared in case anything ever happens. Well this past week, literally THE DAY AFTER I finished updating our kits with new no-cook food items, fresh flashlight batteries, etc. our little region here in Utah was hit with a tornado! What are the chances?! Utah almost NEVER sees tornadoes, so it was a good reminder about why we take these types of precautions to protect and care for our children.
With this month also being Baby Safety Month, we've decided to team up with Owlet for an AMAZING giveaway featuring the latest and greatest baby safety gear on the market. They are hosting a whole series of articles throughout the month covering various baby safety topics from car seats to baby proofing to infant toys and more. If you're following along with their series, I hope you were able to catch Practical Parenting Ideas' article yesterday on safe sleep for babies and be sure to check in with Saving By the Cent tomorrow for a review of all the best baby thermometers currently available.
Today we are focusing on creating a baby emergency kit for your especially little ones. We were fortunate this time that although we were without power for quite some time, the tornado didn't actually hit our neighborhood, just near us so we didn't have to wait too long to get services back up and running. Also, with the tornado that we experienced, it was very localized and only half of our county even experienced any power loss. This meant that once the roads were cleared of a little debris, we were able to simply drive 10 minutes to a store that was still fully functional. Should we ever be hit with a different type of disaster and need to evacuate or be without aid for an extended period of time, we'd need to have an emergency kit on hand and easily accessible for ALL members of the family, especially baby.
Our kit currently contains:
- Emergency ID/Contact Card (may be the most crucial item! see below)
- Infant Thermometer
- Infant Ibuprofen
- Alcohol Cleansing Pads (can sterilize just about anything)
- Antibiotic Ointment
- Saline Solution
- Nasal Aspirator Bulb
- Assortment of Bandages
- Oral Syringe
- Water Purification Tablets
- Flashlight (can check ears, nose, throat, eyes)
- Batteries (stored separately)
- Baby Clothes
- Instant Baby Formula
- Nursing Pads
- Powdered Baby Formula
- Clean Bottles
- Wash Cloth
- Face Mask
- Cloth Diapers
- Baby Food
- Comfort Item/Toys
- Diaper Rash Cream
- Ziploc Bags
- Garbage Bag
- Hand Warmers
- Tons of Socks (can double as mittens if needed)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Baby Wash
- Baby Carrier
Just to touch on a couple of the items briefly, I think that an ID card with emergency contact information is so important! After hearing about the thousands of missing children following Hurricane Katrina we made these cards for each member of our family, laminated them and stuck them on our portable 72 hour kits. I can't really think of anything worse than loosing a child during an emergency situation, so we included a family photo that anyone who finds and is assisting our children could use as a visual to help look for and identify us as their parents. I also include an individual photo of each family member. Should we ever get separated during an evacuation and people start to gather in local schools or churches you can use your family photo to show others and ask around to see if they've seen your missing family members. Having a couple extra headshots of each child would also allow you to leave a picture posted on a missing persons bulletin if necessary. So family photo and individual photos of every family member goes into every bag. On the back of the family photo we list emergency contact information, including both local and out of state contacts, doctors' numbers, allergy and medical information, blood type and most importantly a few local landmarks that are designated as family meeting spots. That way if someone does find your child alone with his pack and they can't locate you in the immediate vicinity from his pictures they can help him get to the meeting area and hopefully reunite the two of you.
For babies of nursing mothers, don't forget a sufficient formula supply. When I originally made a kit for our first baby, I smiled to myself thinking how fortunate it was that I just nurse exclusively because I wouldn't have to worry about that during an emergency, I could just feed him anytime I needed. I completely neglected to consider what would happen in an emergency if I was separated from my baby or something happen to me and his father had to care for him. Others need to have a way to feed your baby should you regrettably not be available. I included a small supply of ready made formula that doesn't need to be measure out and mixed and is just instantly ready to go. Should my husband have the baby and need to quickly feed while evacuating and moving to a safe area I wouldn't want him to worry about anything other finding safe shelter where he can then use the small amount of stored water bottles and powered formula or even purify a local water source if necessary. So even if you've never used formula at home, keep a 72 hour supply on hand for baby should anything happen to you or should you be separated from baby during an emergency situation.
A baby carrier also seems like an absolute must in every emergency baby kit. You simply cannot count on carrying your baby, her kit, your kit and navigating whatever disaster you are facing all at once. I have heard countless tales of women wandering into refugee camps carrying babies in their exhausted arms. Collecting and distributing baby carriers to those mothers was one of the first refugee service projects I heard about locally. If you are ever forced to evacuate your home on foot you'll want a carrier to strap them into. Not only will that distribute the weight and make it easier for you to carry the emergency kits that you'll need, but it may be easiest way to comfort baby in a stressful situation and the only way to keep baby safe should you need to stop and rest yourself.
The majority of the other items in the kit are pretty basic first aid and baby supplies. For space purposes we keep a few disposable diapers in our baby's kit that will be great for convenience, but diapers take up quite a bit of space and you have to remember you'll be carrying baby and everything he'll need to stay alive for 72 hours as well as all of your stuff all while trying to evacuate through what is sure to be chaos, debris and numerous potential hazards. Thus, for the sake of saving space we just did a couple of disposables and then added two cloth diapers. That way baby can wear one while we launder the other should we ever face a real emergency.
Thankfully we've never had to evacuate our home, however I have used almost all of the items in our emergency kits for simple day to day emergencies. When we were without power and unable to rely on certain modern conveniences, it was so nice to be organized and know right were I could find flashlights, a stash of no-cook food items, a clean, dry blanket and warm baby clothes (as a full load of baby's items were in the electric washing machine at the time). And though I hope that we'll never need it for a full blown emergency, I just know that I will be forever grateful that we have a kit ready to grab and go that will allow me to care for our baby under almost any circumstances!
Our brief brush with disaster this past week reminded me of the importance of staying on top of potential emergency situations and to always be aware of ways we can improve the safety we provide for our babies on a daily basis. That is why we are so excited about being able to offer this baby safety giveaway from Owlet Baby Care. Have you guys heard of these things? It is a little sock that you strap on your baby's foot that uses pulse oximetry technology (the little red light thingy that the doctor puts on your baby's toe or finger when checking their pulse and oxygen levels) to monitor baby's breathing and is designed to alert you if your baby stops breathing. Nine years and five kids later I think I am doing okay most nights (it is still terrible if they're ever sick!) but man when I brought my first baby home from the hospital almost a decade ago, this thing would have saved me hours of lost sleep! Even once my baby started sleeping through the night, as a first time mom I was still waking up throughout the night on my own terrified something terrible had happened while I was sleeping and rushing in to make sure he was still breathing... which would usually wake him up and then I'd regret checking on him while I spent the next 30 minutes rocking him back to sleep! I can see these things becoming a common household item in the near future as this could reduce mommy stress levels significantly!
Anyway, they are giving away one Owlet Baby Monitor, along with almost $600 in additional baby gear, including a Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer, an Evenflo SensorSafe Car Seat and a Burley Solstice Jogger Stroller. I seriously wish I'd had this for any of my babies and would LOVE to see one of our readers win one. There are a number of ways to enter to win, simply fill out the following Rafflecopter form:
I'm pregnant right now and would love an owlet for peace of mind.
What a great giveaway! Fingers crossed.
I would love to win an owlet! Our NICU baby finally came home just last week. In the NICU I could watch all the machines to monitor him and see how his stats were, but now that we are home I get paranoid about he's doing. An owlet would definitely put my mind at ease.
I'd love to win this!
I am a paranoid mom and NEED this to help me sleep better at night!