Most instructions you will find on creating 72-hour kits, bug-out bags, or other evacuation supplies leave out an important family member: your baby or infant. If your child is under two years old, they require many special supplies on top of regular 72-hour kit supplies. Planning for their needs should take a little more time and thought than other older family members.
Start out by creating or buying a regular 72-hour kit first. Some supplies you may not feel are necessary for your baby’s kit, such as can openers or pocket knives. However, many supplies that your baby will not specifically need should also be in their kit: extra batteries, flashlights, etc. These are extra items that should be kept with the baby in case you run out. Think about weight distribution – your baby will not be carrying his or her own bag, so this is very important to think of in comparison to your own 72-Hour Kit. What you will include will be up to you and your individual situation. Assign one family member to grab the baby’s emergency kit and put it in your evacuation plan.
Thinking about the supplies you will need in your child’s emergency bag is often tricky because infants go through their stages so quickly. What your baby needs now is not what they will need in six months. The best solution is the plan ahead as well as being diligent about cycling out every year. Include the supplies your baby needs now and what they will need in six months. If you think that you won’t remember to replace supplies every year, maybe think ahead even more than six months.
Even if your baby is currently breastfeeding, pack formula in your baby’s bag. During an emergency, it is possible that your child will be separated from his or her mother for any amount of time. Pack enough water to mix with the formula including the extra water for your baby to drink separately. Toddlers need about 32-40oz of water a day. Include three days worth of baby food. Once your child is eating solid foods, take the baby food out and replace it with food that better matches his or her daily diet. It is important that your child is used to the emergency food you pack – a change in diet, especially during a stressful situation, can cause your baby to have stomach aches, diarrhea, and other similar health concerns. If it is not possible to convert your child’s regular diet into durable emergency food, then have them sometimes eat your food storage food before an emergency strikes so they are used to it.
Other items to pack include bowls, spoons, and bottles. You can buy nipples and spill-proof spouts that attach to regular water bottles at various baby stores. Store all of these items in sealed plastic bags. Bring hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes to keep everything clean.
Packing clothes for your baby is another difficult item to plan for. Prepping mothers encourage packing clothes that are too big for them, about six months beyond their current size. It is better for your baby’s clothes to be too big than too small. Choose sweatpants, sweatshirts, pajamas, and other clothes that will be comfortable, warm, and easy to move around in. Blankets are great for keeping your child warm and for comfort. Some mothers include a small square of a larger blanket that their child uses daily. If you are evacuating during the winter, grab your child’s coat and boots before leaving home, but keep hats, socks, and mittens in the 72-hour kit year round.
For diapers, pack current sizes, a size up, and a few cloth diapers. If you run out of disposable diapers, you will have to resort to diapers you can clean and reuse. Bring extra plastic bags to keep dirty diapers in.
Also pack burp cloths, bibs, sunblock, soap, lotion, washcloths, Tylenol and Motrin for infants, hand warmers, toothbrush and toothpaste, any prescriptions, bulb syringe, saline, gas drops, baby carrier or sling, teether and teething gel, small container of dish soap, Kleenex, and toys or books. These supplies can get expensive, so try buying some of them from consignment stores or Salvation Army, but wash them in bleach after purchasing. Also, keep an eye out for sales and coupons.
On top of all the other items, put a current picture of your child with his or her identification. List his or her allergies, your contact information, and the places where you are planning to go if you evacuate. Put a current picture of your entire family with these items, and place all of it in a sealed plastic bag or laminate them. If your baby gets lost, the first responders who find him or her will be able to use this information to return them back to you.