Bug Out Bag Made Just for Kids

Bug Out Bag Made Just for Kids
My enthusiasm for bug-out bags runs deep. Long before I started to build LadyBugOut and even before I became a mother, I was deeply invested in being as prepared as possible for an emergency event. I put together bags for my husband and I in case we ever needed to “bug out” of Los Angeles and we kept them stashed in our cars. The bags contained essential supplies to keep us safe, secure, nourished, and powered up: a head lamp, a military-grade first-aid kit, water packets, water purification tablets, high-caloric food rations (3,600 calories each!), jackets, sneakers, a map, a fuel syphon, a solar charger, etc. Utilitarian and functional? Yes. Organized? Not so much.

After my daughter was born, I started to realize my approach to these bug-out bags would need to change. As she grew, so did her sense of curiosity; no matter what was in front of her, she wanted to understand how it worked. She wanted to be an active participant in everything. And so it occurred to me that while her bag would need to accomplish the same goal—maximizing safety during a disaster event—it would also need to feel like it was all hers.

To ensure I was covering all the bases, I tapped into the collective expertise of my military-mom friends, each of whom had a specialty: a general, an ER doc, a nutritionist for the Mayo clinic, a child trauma specialist, a few psychologists, and a few educators. We started by focusing on the same basic principles that make for a well-rounded adult bag—safety, medical, and nutritional needs—but knew we needed to add a comfort component as well, because what makes an adult feel safe is not necessarily the same as what makes a child feel safe.

In selecting children-centric items, we set out to combine function, safety, comfort, and whenever possible, fun. Not just any old headlamp, for instance, but a colorful headlamp, and a first-aid kit that is specifically designed for kids. One of the other main considerations is that children would need to be able to open and use each item by themselves, so water pouches were out and water boxes with straws were in. Our nutritionist reminded us that in contrast to adults, children can’t ration during a disaster and therefore the nutrition pocket needed to have a variety of foods with different textures and tastes, in addition to being nutritionally balanced (see our nutrition curation post).

When it came to designing the children-specific comfort section, it dawned on us that because this section is the most personal, it would work best as a blank slate; parents and children deciding together on what goes in there is an activity that provides comfort in and of itself.

Every item we selected was vetted by the board to ensure it met our criteria. After that, we put them up to a final test: children! As it turned out, the bags passed muster; the kids couldn't wait to explore, learn, and talk to their parents about all they ways they could use the contents of the bag.

The end result is an emergency bag designed to address the holistic needs of children. LadyBugOut bags are made for use in a natural disaster or emergency event, but it has everyday function, too. Our early adopters showed us that they love being able to help and show off their new skills and knowledge. At the end of the day, it’s a great tool for play, interaction, and conversations, and for preparing future generations to help keep their communities safer.