Depending on how much your child likes to ride in the car—some kids start wailing the moment they see a car seat, while others love the adventure that goes along with hopping in a car—driving your kids around can be a little stressful.
If your family is anything like my family is, you might spend long hours in a car driving to grandma and grandpa’s every summer. In order to make these road trips (or even just running errands around town) easier, we have a list of fifteen things every parent should put in their Kia.
Naps. Need we say more?
Again, the utility of having towels on hand is self-explanatory, but most new parents are not prepared for just how destructive a spilled cup of soda can be on carpet and upholstery. The best solution is to have towels ready to sop up anything that spills as soon as it spills. And because young kids are prone to carsickness, having a few towels around to mop up any accidents is a great idea.
3. Wet wipes or baby wipes
Even if your kids are beyond the diaper and bathroom accidents stage, wet wipes or baby wipes are still an essential to keep on hand. Nothing cleans hands faster, and they can even be used to clean smudges off of dashboards or sanitize something if you’re in a pinch.
4. A diaper bag
While you might have a diaper bag that you carry around on a regular basis, there’s nothing wrong with having a backup that always stays in the car. This makes sure you never run out of diapers, wipes, bottles, and maybe even a spare set of clothes, just in case a real disaster occurs.
5. An umbrella
Not only will you be happy you have an umbrella in the car when you get caught in a rainstorm on the way to the store, you child will be grateful you remembered an umbrella just for him, when it really starts to come down. While most kids don’t mind playing in the rain, if you want to keep your car clean and dry, having an extra umbrella that never leaves the car is the best way.
If your kids get upset when they don’t have a stuffed animal but are prone to forgetting to bring theirs along, having a spare that stays in the car is a good way to tide them over until they can get home to their favorite toy. Plus, your kids might find something fun in the concept of having toys that they only get to play with when they’re in the car.
If yours is an active family that likes to stop and see the sights or get out and hike, making sure you have a spare visor or hat in the car is a great way to prevent sunburn and the crankiness that can come along with it. Whether you’re headed to the beach or are just driving to grandma’s make sure there’s a hat tucked in the trunk of your Kia.
8. An escape tool
While it’s unlikely that you will ever have to use it, having a seatbelt cutter and window breaking tool in your car is still essential. While you might be able to get out of your seatbelt quickly, you might not be able to undo the car seat buckles as quickly. This means that you need a tool that will not only help you get out of your car faster, but also gives you a way to make your own escape route, if you need one, should be a part of every parent’s Kia kit.
9. Extra sun screen
You never know when you might need some! Keeping it in the car is the best way to make sure that you have plenty of sun screen no matter where you are or where you’re going.
10. Hand sanitizer
Like baby wipes, keeping hand sanitizer in your car is a great way to keep everyone’s hands clean. Whether you just came in from the store and want to clean off any germs he might have picked up from the cart or doors, or you’re road-tripping and want an easy way to clean hands before a meal, hand sanitizer is the way to go.
11. Water bottles
Research suggests that you shouldn’t just leave plastic water bottles in your car, as the bottles themselves can break down and contaminate the water, having some safe plastic or metal water bottles on hand, that can be filled at a sink or water fountain, can keep your kids hydrated.
Whether they have a runny nose, a bloody nose, a crying fit, or some other unplanned mishap in the car, keeping a pack of tissues in the jockey box or trunk ensures you always have something to wipe the odd nose or hand, if need be.
13. An extra set of clothes for the whole family
Rolled up and stowed in a bag under a seat, you can fit an extra change of clothes for every member of the family easily into your car. If someone has an accident (or everyone has an accident), you have the perfect stop-gap.
Unless you are going to keep MREs in your Kia (not recommended), there are no snacks that will be good indefinitely, but there are things like granola bars and trail mix that will stay good for a few months.
15. First aid kit
Nothing is more essential for driving or traveling with kids than a first aid kit, especially one that contains anti-motion sickness medicine, baby aspirin, and Band-Aids. It’s always better to be prepared than to have to stop at every gas station until you find one that sells Band-Aids.