The longer you are a mom, the more items you realize that you need to get you through the most random situations that happen. In my experience, these are the top 20 items every mom should have in her car from A-Z.
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These are the kind of air pumps that can plug into your DC connector (cigarette lighter) in your car. They can be so handy for pumping up bike tires, balls and other items. They also can come in handy when your tire is a little short on air and you need it to make it to the repair shop.
Baby wipes are a necessity when you are traveling with small children in diapers. Never the less, they are also super handy for cleaning dirty hands and faces as well as cleaning up the plastic interior of the car.
Blank Bank Slips
These are always handy to have in the car and it will save you some time if you can fill them out and not have to wait for the teller to send you one. Never, ever fill them out with your personal information way ahead of time and leave them in the car. That’s like writing a blank check to any criminal who gains access to your car.
Yes, I did list more than one. No, it is not a typo. If you live in a colder climate where you deal with freezing temperatures, snow or ice, a blanket in the car is a must. The heated ones are really awesome. Even for those of us that don’t live in the frozen tundra, blankets can come in handy. They can keep a cold kid warm even if they are only cold from the a/c in the car. It can serve as a barrier between the upholstery and your child if you indulge in messy treats or food in the car. A blanket can also be used for an impromptu picnic or a warm cover after swimming or splash pads.
Cell Phone Charger
Cell phones can be finicky and let’s face it they run out of battery power at the most inconvenient time. So play it safe and keep a charger in your car.
Chapstick or Lip Balm
I can’t go more than an hour or two without applying some kind of lip balm. My kids also need it from time to time.
I realize that no one really uses coins much anymore. There are still places that take them though. The parking meters at one of our local outdoor malls being one of them. I also like having change for vending machines if necessary or for something fun like the little rides my kids enjoy at Babies R US and other stores. You can even find a cute little coin purse to put them in.
What better place to store big store coupons like those from Bed, Bath, and Beyond or craft stores than in the door of your car? You will have them there when you need them instead of forgetting them at home. Want to know more? Check out my post on Coupon Strategies for Working Moms.
You never know when you might forget your wallet and need money. There might also be a day when you need more cash than you have in your wallet during an emergency. If you can swing it I recommend a minimum of $50 in your stash, but even $20 will help. If you can’t afford that, start with a small amount and add to it every so often. Find a good place to stash it where you won’t be tempted to use it in a non-emergency situation. I like to use an empty Altoids box hidden in the car.
First Aid Kit
My kids are always in need of a bandaid. You may never know when you might have a bigger emergency and need something more to take care of a wound. Never travel with kids without even a simple first aid kit.
Hair Ties or Rubberbands
Pull your hair or your child’s hair up. Keep like items together. Secure a bag. The possibilities for hair ties are endless.
There is no excuse for not having these in your car. Don’t hope that someone else has jumper cables, because often times they don’t!
Yes, I know your phone has GPS, but if it dies or malfunctions, then what?? What if you are somewhere remote without service? Last summer we took a trip to visit my in-laws and the road we needed was shut down by a fatal accident. Luckily, it happened when we stopped for lunch. Sometimes it is actually easier to grab a road atlas or map to find alternate routes rather than try to look it up on your phone. It’s also a good geography lesson for the kids.
Mints or Gum
Plastic Bags and Reusable Shopping Bags
No matter what its for. Garbage, vomit, or dirty diapers, you will always be glad you have plastic bags in your car. Reusable shopping bags can carry just about anything. Enough said.
Post It Notes and Pens
Some of my best ideas come to me in the car. I personally like to write post its to myself and it never hurts to have paper to write on in the car. You might need to make a list, write a note to yourself or share information with someone. I always keep pens in my car because the one in my purse often disappears.
It never hurts to have a small non-perishable snack in the car such as Goldfish crackers. It is never fun to be stuck in a car with cranky, starving children ever!
You will never regret having a old towel in your car. It can serve as an impromptu blanket or a table cloth over your child’s lap when eating messy food in the car. It can be used after swimming or an unplanned visit to the splash pad. It can also mop up spilled water or other messes quickly.
This seems like a silly item to put on the list since I live in a climate where it hardly ever rains. However, when it does rain here I am always glad I have my umbrella.
After baby wipes, tissues are the number one necessity in the car. If you are out of baby wipes these can be a lifesaver. Also, they come in very handy for runny little noses, including your own. In my own car, I can keep a box in the center console. In our minivan, we transferred the tissues to an old wipes box after the tissue box got trampled by the kids several times!!!
This list should cover just about everything that you need. I do keep many of the smaller items together in an old, dry baby wipe box. It is very handy. You can gather most of these things in a few minutes and your future trips with kids will go much smoother!