Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Prepping for your Car

As a mom I want my kids and family to be warm and dry.  I want to be prepared in case we are out and a storm comes up or if the weather turns cold.  A few years ago I had the "pleasure" of witnessing my friend's prepping efforts result in warm and toasty children.  My kids on the other hand weren't as warm and toasty.  Here is what happened.  We all met for dinner at a restaurant, her family and my family.  She suggested that we go to this winter village and walk around and see the lights.  This place has lots of old timey homes and store fronts etc, that you can walk around and see.  At Christmas time they decorate them with lights and decorations and you can walk around and enjoy the vintage feel.  They have things there from a 1950's gas station to a turn of the century post office.  Anyway, we weren't prepared to walk around for long as it had gotten chilly but my friend assured me that we wouldn't be out in the cold long as we would be popping in and out of these buildings and they are all heated.  We were game and agreed to follow them there.  We get out of our car in the parking area and her kids are all bundled up with hats and scarves and mittens and such.  I told her that my kids didn't have such things and her husband said that their kids weren't prepared with this stuff either but it is just all the things that my friend has stashed in her car in the winter time just in case. {ah ha}  In the winter time she grabs older hats, gloves and scarves and she sticks them in the back of her car just in case...  The night was a fine night and my kids weren't freezing and were okay just walking around in their winter coats with the hood up and their hands in their pockets.  And my friend was right we just popped in and out of the buildings and were quite warm.  But that image stuck with me of her pulling these hats and gloves out of the car for her kids.  I wanted to be that prepared.

Ever since then I have tried to always have a few extra pair of gloves, hats and scarves in my car for the kids and us adults, ...just in case....

So on with the list of items I always try to keep in the car:  This list is "mom style" so don't expect big containers of ice melt and snow tire chains, etc.  I would love to have that in my car but we don't get enough winter weather here in my world to warrant me having to worry with that stuff.  If you are in that part of the world then I would certainly recommend having the equipment to get you out of a snow drift or in case the weather turns bad on you quickly.  For me, I am worried about warmth for us if we break down and need to wait a few hours for a tow truck, or if we are out and our friends suggest us walking around in the winter.  Back to my list.

  1. warm hats, gloves or mittens, and scarves for everyone in our family.  I put these in a bag and toss it in the back of the car.  These are older gloves and hats that will be fine in a pinch but not ones that the will make us the most fashionable family at the time.  I am going for warmth here.  I also love the ones that are sold for $1 or 2 at Target in the fall.  They are cheap enough for me to buy a set for each person and just stash them.  They aren't wool but they will do for us.
  2. blanket (s).  In our big suburban I want a blanket for each person.  These are fleece and are lap blanket size.  In our smaller cars one or two are great.  I am not spending a ton of money on these either.  The set we have in the suburban were given to use many years ago by my in laws.  The ones we have in the other cars are just fleece I got at the fabric store and I cut and sewed the edges.  Easy peasy and inexpensive.  
  3. Water.  I try to keep a few water bottles in the back of the car (trunk) just in case.  But in winter they freeze and thaw so I open them and pour out just a bit so they don't burst when they freeze.  What would be great is to keep them in a plastic container so if they do bust they won't seep into the carpets or back of the car. 
  4. A bit of food.  This can be peanut butter cracker packs, snack packs or breakfast bars.  I try to keep a few in the glove compartment or in the car somewhere.  This works well when I have my lunch box with me that I take back and forth to work.  I always have extra food in there.  And I try to keep that with me during the day and in the car.  If we are going out as a family I will often pack that full of drinks and snacks anyway so we don't have to stop anywhere to get a child or us a snack.  It just makes life easy
  5. First Aid Kit.  I always have a little one in my purse but in the car we like to have a bigger one.  This holds headache medicine, band-aids, benedryl, bactine, and neosporin, an ace bandage, and a pair of tweezers and a fingernail clipper.  I keep it in a rubbermaid box that is pretty small.  We have had this box for a long time.  It is about 6 inches deep and about 8 inches long.  It is not big but it holds lots of stuff.
  6. My purse (my purse is part of my plan and I take it with me where ever I go) In my purse for the winter I have a small bottle of hand lotion, chapstick, my small first aid kit, tissues, a snack or two (my peeps get hungry!), my emergency cards, my cell phone (the chargers stay in the car), and a flashlight.
Things I should have in my car but they aren't: (This is my "to do" list)
  1. an umbrella
  2. old towels
  3. a lightstick or flashlight that stays in the car
  4. jumper cables (we only have one pair and they float from car to car) We take them on big trips but they aren't in every car we own nor in the cars we use for everyday running around.
  5. a plastic box to keep my water bottles in. This way if they freeze and burst, they don't leak all over the car)
  6. a window ice scraper
  7. antifreeze, oil, or other car maintenance stuff (I am not sold on putting these in the car for just every day running around.  We do put these items in the car for trips)
  8. weather radio or hand crank radio
What am I missing?  We live in a pretty mild climate and while we have cold weather, we don't tend to drive in adverse weather conditions and when it snows the entire town shuts down until the roads are clear.

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