Creating An Emergency Comfort Kit
by Denise Vasi
Last year when my daughter started preschool, I shared an Emergency Comfort List on Instagram stories. It was a list our school had asked each family to put together in case of an emergency. My direct messenger on Insta quickly blew right up.
As a first-time school mama, I had no idea this wasn’t the norm. Other parents from other schools were intrigued and even teachers wrote me to ask for the list. Their hope was to speak with their principles about implementing a comfort kit system at their school.
Reading this list out loud always causes me to choke back tears. It’s gut-wrenching to imagine that a bag full of items could comfort my child in an emergency where we couldn’t get to her. At the same time, I am extremely proud that the school we chose for her is thoughtful, loving and smart enough to have created this list.
Every family is asked to prepare a 2-gallon freezer Ziploc bag for each of their children attending school. Items include a sweatshirt and space blanket to provide heat and a plastic trash bag to keep your child dry; the safety pins are to attach index cards with your child’s name and contact telephone numbers to help to identify your child and contact you, or a long-distance family member in case the emergency affected an entire city or state. These also help to keep things organized amid emergency chaos.
Without a doubt the most difficult of all to prep and pack is the last item on the list: family photos of happy memories and a brief note to soothe your little one.
- 1 small hand towel
- 1 sweatshirt (with hood but no pull-string) or tightly woven sweater (rolled tight)
- 1 space blanket (obtain at sporting good store-DO NOT OPEN)
- A few moist towelettes
- Four-4 ounce cans of juice
- 10 Band-Aids
- 4 small packs of commercially vacuum packed/preserved snacks (shelf life of 1 year)
- 1 plastic trash bag (30 gallon size) to be used as makeshift rain poncho
- 1 pocket-size tissue pack
- 2 emergency 3 x 5 index cards with 2 safety pins. On FRONT in bold letters write CHILD’s NAME and any long-term medical or dietary needs. ON BACK write address, phone #, persons allowed to pick up child. Include your out of state/out of area contact person with phone number. (Should be beyond 300 mile radius of school. )
- A supply of special dietary or medical needs, if necessary.
- 3 small photographs of family “happy memories” include in ziploc bag and brief note.
Remember that this list is about easing your child’s anxiety and keeping them comfortable in a stressful emergency situation. This list is in no way supposed to replace the emergency supplies your school should have readily available.
At the top of the school year, you may want to check in with your child’s school to make sure they have all the necessary supplies on deck for any potential emergencies or lockdown situations. Necessities would include enough water and food for each student for a few days, first-aid supplies, items like battery-powered flashlights, sanitary items, and most importantly a list of every student, preferably with photos. That list should include any special needs students, detailing specifically what their needs are, be they medical or dietary.
In the world we live in today, preparation is the best tool we have to keep our little ones safe.