Making Your Child’s Bug Out Bag

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

One day you could be relaxing, and you’re home watching a movie with your kid, and 15 minutes later, you’re evacuating because of a flood, hurricane, or earthquake. In situations like this, it’s great to have a bug-out bag you pick up and go. Most preparedness-minded people already have a bug-out bag for themselves, but many haven’t remembered to make one for their children. If you have a child, this is something you want to do immediately.

When constructing your child’s bug-out bag, remember that it must be lightweight, multi-purpose, and have high-quality items that will help them. Also, remember anything that you place within the bag must be demonstrated how to use it. This won’t be as necessary with older children, but certainly with elementary-age children and younger. We’ll review the basics for each age group to help pin down exactly what you need for your children.

For infants and toddlers, you’ll want to pack some old-fashioned things if you expect a long-term situation. For example, you can pack disposable or cloth diapers, but if you pack cloth diapers, remember to pack diaper pins and cloth diaper covers. A dry formula should be added for infants even if breastfeeding because lactation can become problematic when disruptions occur. For toddlers, pack snacks such as Cheerios, baby food pouches, yogurt puffs, and anything else they like since toddlers are picky. Then, of course, bottles for infants, blankets, wipes, a couple of clothing changes, a pacifier, butt rash cream, sunscreen, and a little hygiene kit. Other nice-to-have items include a baby carrier or wrap and a thermometer for infants.

Elementary-age children from 4 to 12 years old are a little easier to pack for. Tag a couple of clothing changes, including one outfit for winter and one for summer. Add a lightweight rain jacket, thermal socks, undershirts, and even thermal underwear for winter clothing. Avoid bright neon colors. Make sure the child has waterproof hiking boots. For this age, you want entertainment items such as toys and books and a stuffed animal or doll they love. In addition to this, make sure the children have snacks, like beanie weenies, little tins of chef Boyardee, peanut butter crackers, and Jell-O cups. Include a one-liter water bottle on the side of their bag. Their bags should also contain a miniature first aid kit with band-aids, alcohol pads, and gauze if old enough to use it. An emergency whistle will be a nice touch if they get separated from you.

You can outfit them almost like an adult for children 13 and older up to 18 years old. They can carry many things that other children cannot, such as a Swiss army knife, Leatherman tool, or first aid kit without medications, a sewing kit, fire starters minus the flame, a compass, a map, and much more. They should have two outfits suitable for winter and summer, a good thermal blanket or sleeping bag, hiking boots, and foods they can eat on the go. They could get Mountain House packaged foods, snacks like elementary school children, candy bars, beef jerky, and MREs.


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