Friday, April 8, 2011

Car Emergencies

Here is installment number two of my preparedness overhaul.

A few weeks ago we were on our way to a birthday party and Coco puked all over herself. I promise I am not that mom who takes her sick children places so that the rest of the world can be exposed to illness; I just choose the wrong day to introduce her to Greek yogurt.

Since I knew she wasn’t sick, and we were about 45 minutes away from home, I turned to Patrick and uttered a phrase I am sure all mothers have said at least once, “find a Target!”

$30 and an adorable Spring Raincoat later, we arrived at the party.

I have always had emergency clothes in the car for the boys, as well as a bevy of other odds and ends, but now that I no longer carry a diaper bag, some of Colette’s emergency needs have been ignored.

I went through the mini-van, or as we affectionately call it, the “swagger wagon” this week and made sure I restocked and reorganized everything. Here is what we have:

Gym Bag in the trunk:

  • First aid kit
  • A change of clothes for each child. Coco has a complete change of clothes. V and F are almost the same size now, so in order to keep things streamlined and prevent my car from being over loaded, I have a pair of pants and underwear for each child and a short sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt/jacket with a hood, and a pair of sox that fit both of them. If they both need a complete change of clothes, we will have bigger problems on our hands than having to drive home with half naked kids.
  • Diapers for Colette

Small Basket at the footwell of Coco’s Seat:

  • Baby Wipes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide wipes- These come in a round canister from the drug store and are great for cleaning minor cuts and scrapes while away from home (think a tumble at the park or slipping in a parking lot...or falling down on your butt because you can’t walk in those damn heels after a couple Kir Royals...but enough about Date Night).
  • Kleenex
  • Sun Hat for Coco
  • sunscreen
  • Coco toys

Center console next to the driver's seat:

  • Small Roadside Assistance kit
  • Trash bags- I bought a travel package of bathroom size trash bags. They are perfect for throwing away trash accumulated during a road trip, and even handier to have when a wet unexpected mess arises.
  • Purell- travel size
  • Nail file
  • Mints
  • Tootsie Pops and DumDums- Sometimes I just need quiet.
  • Hair tie
  • Hand lotion
  • Small deodorant- You would thank me if I discovered I forgot to apply it at home on route to lunch with you.
  • Rewards cards and Punch cards- I keep these in a sandwich bag so that I have them on hand without cluttering my wallet. The only club cards I keep in my wallet are for Costco and the grocery store.
  • Change purse with coins for meters and $20 for those times I don’t have cash and have to pay for parking or the valet. Have you ever seen a mini-van valet parked? Me either, but it could happen.
  • Clorox wipes- travel size
  • Small folding Umbrella
  • phone charger
  • bank deposit slips
  • Napkins- Just enough to clean up a spill.
  • One DVD- The kids are only allowed to watch a DVD on long drives (anything over 2 hours). I keep one DVD in the car (Hercules) in case I need it. I never have. I don’t know what would warrant it, but it is there.
  • Pen and notebook- In the pocket on the driver side door.
  • Small Camera- This I actually keep in my purse. It is a point a shoot and I use it if I see something I like for the house, or if the kids are doing something cute. Insurance companies recommend you keep one in the car to take photos in the event of an accident. I guess a good quality cell phone would do the same thing, but my phone is a POS. Patrick wants me to get an iPhone, but I am too cheap...I mean frugal.

Glove Compartment:

  • Insurance information
  • Owner's manual

Other stuff:

  • Toys and books- just a few small and quiet ones, in a basket between the boys’ car seats.
  • A blanket for each family member- these are pretty thin and are folded up under the bench seat. On really cold mornings (and nights) we pull them out.
  • Reusable shopping bags in the trunk
  • Shopping cart cover in the trunk.
  • Ergo carrier in the trunk.

I’m sure you are thinking, “Where do these people sit?”. We sit in the seats, like everyone else. With good organization this stuff takes up very little space, and there is plenty of room to haul around groceries, strollers, etc,

Of course, you should have a spare tire and jack in your car as well, but nowadays most of those are integrated into the car’s body. Also, an OnStar or Auto Club membership is a must.

I’m sure it is tempting, but please don’t steal my swagger wagon. I know, it is equipped to make MacGyver proud, but prepare your own family vehicle. It is easy, I promise.

Before we left the house that Saturday I had a “feeling” that I might need a change of clothes for Coco. I will never ignore these feelings again. It is mother’s intuition, I guess. More on that next time.

What other junk do I need in my trunk?



  1. Don't even get me started on that last line. As for the 'find target!' line...all I gotta say is thank goodness we popped for the limited model with navigation! There was one just around the corner, but far enough down a side street we would have never seen it if we kept going straight. With GPS we were there in 5 minutes. Technology rocks! (it also pays our bills!)

  2. Technology DOES rock...I LOVE my GPS! I am also LOVE, LOVE, LOVING the fact that Hil travels with deoderant in the car! What a HUGE sigh of relief! ;)

  3. These are great tips!! I keep most of this stuff in our minivan too(we call our's the moving den), but you listed some other great items I should add. In the summer I add a park bag and drink/snack bag.