Lots of people have heard of a "Go Bag", and some people actually have created one for themselves and their family. Go Bags are basically a bag or tote with everything you would need to survive a couple days if you had to leave your home or work with almost no notice.
Then I thought about it for a minute, what about your kids? You can't really expect them to carry a huge go bag to school each day, but obviously we want our kids to have at least something to help them in a time of need. So that's when I decided I was going to put together a small portable emergency kit or mini go bag for my kids.
Now you may be thinking - why would a kid need this? I have a couple reasons. School buses have accidents just like any other kind of vehicle. Severe weather can make it difficult for you or the buses to reach your child at school. (I personally was stranded at school for 4 hours during a snow storm when the school system hadn't closed schools early. It can happen!) There could be a terrorist attack at or near their school. Mostly it's for the reasons I can't think of that I want them to have a get home bag/go bag/emergency kit. These are crazy times we are living in and you just can't predict what some people will do. I want my kids to have every chance to survive and be comfortable until help arrives.
One important thing I had to consider was that everything in the kit had to be allowed in school and be age appropriate obviously. That ruled out knives, matches, medicines just to name a few. While it does limit what the child/young adult can do - it is still better than having nothing.
Here are some suggestions to include in your child's kit:
- Water bottle
- Granola bar/energy bar/trail mix/crackers
- Band aids and wipes - to clean a cut or wound
- Tissues - a couple tissues to wipe noses or to use as toilet paper if needed
- Hand sanitizer
- Mirror - for starting a fire or signalling for help
- Dental floss or a paracord bracelet - use as rope
- Finger nail file - can be used to file/cut if necessary
- Poncho/emergency blanket - to use in rain or to create a small tent with in worst case senarios
- Cash - Small bills and change
- Map of your area - highlight a path to get home or to a designated meeting location. You may need to draw the map for younger kids possibly adding photos of things to look for. Even older kids can get lost easily because they don't usually need to know the street names or turns to take.
- List of emergency phone numbers and addresses including their own name, address and phone number.
- Small toy (matchbox car, Polly Pocket, deck of cards, crayons and paper, stuffed animal, etc.)
What to store their kit in?
You want the kit to take up as little room as possible, because they will just add it to their backpack. I suggest using a 3x5 index card box. They are made of hard plastic so their stuff won't get squished at the bottom of their bag. Plus it's light weight. Another option is to use a small makeup bag.
Remember these are can be as elaborate or simple as you wish and always should be age appropriate. Feel free to share any items you would add to this list.