Form Follows Function: How a 3-year-old Helped Design the LadyBugOut Bag
Creating this bag was a labor of love in the truest sense of the word. My daughter was three at the time, and I was learning firsthand and in real time that observing an interactive, inquisitive child can show you a lot about the design process.
The first thing she helped me realize is that seeing everything inside the bag matters. This made sense, considering the number of times I had witnessed the dumping of toys from boxes, the act of pulling every single Kleenex out of the box, etc.
When I received the prototype for the first bag I’d drawn up and it didn’t lay flat, I knew this would not pass her inspection; she wanted to see everything, and everything all at once. I went back to the drawing board and made revisions so that the bag would lay flat, with clear pockets that allowed a bird’s eye view.
The redesign had another benefit, too, I realized, in that the act of opening and examining the bag mimicked the way she would lay on the floor and “read” books—an activity she loved. And when it comes to disaster planning for children, any way you can integrate a source of comfort and familiarity is a good thing.
In terms of color, I chose the green for its calming properties as well as the eye’s ability to find it easily.
The bag also has four pockets to help organize the holistic areas we wanted to focus on: first aid, nutrition, safety and security, and comfort. This structure helps with organization, but also allows children to focus on one area at a time and take it in digestible pieces.
An additional priority was ensuring that it was portable and possible to be carried by children. In the event that an adult needs to help carry the bag, there is a top handle so it can be attached to the adult’s bag via a carabiner.
Finally, we wanted the bag to be stackable in case a family has several children or if multiple bags are purchased and need to be stored in the same place. Our recommendation is that for each child, a bag is stored at home, at school and in each of the family cars. If you’re starting out with one bag, consider an average week and where your child spends the majority of their time, as well as where they are least likely to have supplies and resources readily available.