Back To School: Preschool Earthquake Kit

“...there's no harm in hoping for the best as long as you're prepared for the worst.” 
 Stephen King, Different Seasons

If you were a child in the 70's or 80's - this probably looks familiar to you.

Here is a list of items that have been requested by my daughter's preschool for her earthquake kit. I've been a stay-at-home-mom her whole life and never gave it a second thought that there might be a major, catastrophic emergency where she was NOT with me. *Cue the pit in my stomach.*  So here I am making a preparedness packet of items for my daughter to use at school in the event of an emergency (before I can get there to pick her up.)

I'm realizing that it would be a good idea to have these things in one spot at home too (like a big plastic bin/tub with a lid that sealed) along with plenty of bottled water.  Living in "earthquake country" we should already have this, and we do in our pantry - sorta... however, it should really be in one spot that can be grabbed quickly. It would be a good idea to change everything out once a year or once every two years depending on the item to be sure it's fresh - including bottled water. Especially if it's kept in a garage where the temperature can change drastically depending on the time of year.

The food items listed below may or may not be things you normally serve to your children, especially if you typically do not buy prepackaged items. But in the case of an emergency - especially when your child is at school, you will want to have things nearby that do not require refrigeration or cooking, or items that are perishable are easily damaged like crackers/cookies in a baggie that can get smashed. Also, don't include items in the school packet that require water to hydrate the item like instant oatmeal or soup cups. Be sure to check with your child's school about bringing peanut butter or items containing peanuts. Many schools do not allow these items due to peanut allergies.

Here are some suggestions. Not all items will fit in the large ziploc bag, so choose about 4-6 items.

  • 1-2 boxed juices or bottles of water
  • 1-2 small pop-top cans of spaghetti, stew, tuna, Vienna sausage
  • 1-2 fruit rolls or fruit snacks
  • 1-2 individual fruit cups or pudding cups
  • 1-2 small, individual boxes of cereal
  • 1-2 individual applesauce cups
  • Small pkg. of trail mix
  • Small pkg. of beef jerky
  • Small pkg. of cheese and cracker packs
  • *Plastic fork/spoon if needed
  • Small pkg. of wet wipes
  • Box of band-aids
  • Small pkg. of kleenex
  • Small book, toy, game or other small activity

(For your school pack) PLEASE DO NO INCLUDE:
  1. Fresh fruit or other perishables.
  2. Glass containers.
  3. Crackers/chips/cookies that can get broken and smashed.
  4. Dehydrated food that requires water, (or any food that requires heat.)
  5. Valuable items like cash, expensive gadgets/electronics, etc.

*If your child needs medication you'll need a form that your child's doctor will need to complete.  Bring the form and the medication (in the prescription bottle) along with proper instructions to the office for dispensing in case of emergency.

Here are some other items I thought would be good to add to the list:

  • Individual squeeze packets. I like to use the Organic food packets like chicken and rice, veggies and fruit, or ready-to-eat "toddler meals," etc. We like, Happy Tot, Ella's Kitchen, Plum Organics, etc., which can be found in the baby food isle of any major store.
  • Granola bars, "meal replacement" bars, protein bars, cereal bars, etc. (be sure to check for peanuts if this is an issue.)
  • Dried or freeze dried fruit (raisins, banana/apple chips, dried apples/blueberries/peaches/prunes/apricots, etc.  Check for expiration dates.)
  • Individual pkg. seaweed snacks, kale chips, etc. (these usually come wrapped in a small plastic container to keep them from getting broken.)
  • Individual pkgs. of dried veggie sticks (like Snap Pea Crisps, etc.)
  • A small lovie to comfort your child until you are there to get them. (Who doesn't love a good lovie?!) Or a small toy to keep them comforted until a loved one comes to get them. This might not seem like a necessity, but small children will typically be less scared if they have something from home that helps keep them calm and happy in a stressful situation where mommy and daddy are not there to hug them. I put a very small, very soft stuffed kitten along with a very small Lil Pet Shop puppy. Both took up little space (they both fit into a snack sized baggie labeled with her name on it) and I was confident they would provide much love and comfort to my daughter if there had been an emergency. 
  • Anti-bacterial wipes or gel. In the event of no running water, you'll want your child to be able to clean their hands. 
  • Identification card with current picture of your child, their current height/weight, possible allergies or required medications and phone numbers where parents/caregiver can be reached. Be sure to have these people on "the list" at your child's school as well so they are approved to come and get them. This info should be in the office already, but it's best to have it handy in your child's pack. This can be laminated and attached to a lanyard for your child to wear during an emergency. Small children who might be extremely scared due to a catastrophic emergency might not even remember their own name so this would be a big help to adults who are there helping. Make an extra one for the bag/backpack they take with them everyday. Since you have your laminator** out and are looking on your computer for pictures, print up a wallet sized picture of your family include the beloved pets and favorite lovies and add that to the back side of their identification card. Seeing your smiling, familiar faces will provide them with extra comfort. 
  • Something warm. Regardless of the time of year, it's good to have a sweater/sweatshirt for your child in case it's late in the day before you can get them, or God forbid they need to be there overnight (in extreme emergencies.) Most preschools and daycares already require you to bring a change of clothing for your child in case they have an accident, so you can have it in that bag. Be sure to include a sturdy pair of close-toed shoes and socks in this clothing pack too and don't forget to label everything with your child's full name. *When your child moves up a size in shoes, clothes (or diapers if needed) don't forget to change out your school clothing pack too. Make sure all personal items are labeled with your child's name and room #.
  • Item List. Just to keep everything organized I would include a sheet of paper in the packet with your child's info (include room # and teacher) on it as well as an itemized list of the things in their pack so that things can easily be accounted for after it's been opened. It might be helpful to label each disposable item with a sharpie (w/your child's name/room #) and tag the personal items as well. If a situation arrises that your child will be needing these things at school this will help to eliminate any confusion during an already stressful time and to ensure your child has the food and comfort items they are already familiar with.  

*The school list didn't include medicated ointment or any wound cleaner, cotton balls for cleaning, etc. for the Earthquake Kit. I might include these items as well but it's good to make sure they have an updated first aid kit in the classroom as well or see if it's OK to provide a small one in your child's bag. 

**Don't have a laminator available?  Take an index card and glue everything into place. Then take shiny, clear packing tape and gently cover both sides of the card making sure all surfaces are covered. Punch a hole and attach it to your lanyard and voilà - laminated card. 

Did I leave anything out?  Any food or personal items that should be added to the list? What do you have prepped in case of an emergency?  Please comment below and I may include them in an updated post.

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