Essential Safety Items To Always Keep in Your Car

I love traveling with my kids and a lot of times that entails lots of driving and road trips. We love driving down to the desert, driving to family members houses, and to visit new places. While our road trips usually go pretty smoothly, we have had a few experiences that remind me that making sure I am prepared for any situation is my top priority. And to keep certain safety items for our car.

With all the driving I do, especially on my own with the kids, I like to be prepared and keep a handful of safety items in my car in case of emergencies. Whether it’s bad traffic, a car malfunction, a freeway shutdown, or getting lost, I want to be prepared to keep me and my kids, safe and comfortable in any situation.

We also do a series of safety checks before we go on any long road trips to make sure everything runs smoothly.

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Safety Items I Keep in My Car

  • First Aid Kit: First Aid Kits are essential for addressing minor injuries quickly. Whether it’s a cut, burn, or a scrape, having immediate access to bandages, antiseptics, and basic pain relief can be crucial. This is the First Aid Kit I have in my car and I love how organized it is and that everything is labeled.
  • Car Battery Jump Starter: Having your car battery die is really annoying but it can be really inconvenient or even dangerous if it dies when there isn’t anyone around to give you a jump. A car battery jump starter allows you to jump your own car without needing another car. You just put the cables on the battery, turn it on, and let it do its thing. I especially love this when I don’t feel comfortable flagging someone down when I’m alone, and when I’m up a canyon with no service and I’m not able to call for help.
  • Food and Water: You never know how long you’ll be on the road or potentially stranded if something happens to your car. Freeways can close and if you’re out in the heat of the day in the summer, this can get scary. If it’s warm, I would regularly change out your water bottles and snacks in your car.
  • Blanket(s): If your car breaks down in cold weather, a blanket can provide the necessary warmth, especially when the car heater isn’t an option. It can also be something to lay on if you need to get underneath the car. I like this wool blanket because it’s warm, fire retardant, and water resistant. Emergency blankets is also a great, lightweight and compact option.
  • Extra Layers: Weather can be unpredictable. Having extra clothing like a jacket, gloves, and beanie ensures you can stay comfortable and protected in varying weather conditions. This includes gloves to work on your car if it’s cold.
  • Tool Kit: A tool kit can serve multiple purposes, from repair work to creating makeshift solutions in unforeseen circumstances. We’ve used a mallet to hit the tire iron onto the lug nuts and a socket to fit the lug nuts of your tires.
  • Cash: My friend lost her wallet when she was on a road trip and had to scrounge up the few dollars she could find in her car to pay for gas. After she told me this I put $50 in small bills in my car for emergencies. In areas where digital payments aren’t accepted or in case of card malfunctions, cash ensures you can pay for services like towing, gas, or food.
  • Flashlight or Headlamp: A flashlight or headlamp is important for visibility during nighttime emergencies like a tire change or if you need to signal someone.
  • Ice Scraper and Snow Brush: If you are driving in a snowy area, a snow scraper is crucial for maintaining visibility in snowy or icy conditions.
  • Tire Inflator and Sealant: An electric tire inflator is so handy if you have a minor tire puncture, allowing you to drive to a safer location or a repair shop.
  • Jumper Cables: Even if you have an electric car battery jump starter, it’s still a good idea to have jumper cables in case the batter of that device is dead, or if you need to help someone else jump their car.
  • Portable Phone Charger: We all rely a lot on our phones so keeping a phone charger around is important, even if your car isn’t working. If you have an electric car battery jump starter, this doubles as a portable phone charger.
  • Multi-Tool or Swiss Army Knife: A multi-tool is handy for a variety of situations, from cutting to screwing or unscrewing items.
  • Rain Poncho: A rain poncho is very nice to have if you need to exit or work on your car in rainy weather.
  • Emergency Contact List: In case your phone dies, having a physical list of important contacts can be a lifesaver. I keep our road side service number, as well as friends in my area that I don’t have their numbers memorized.
  • Seatbelt Cutter and Window Breaker: In case of an accident where you need to quickly exit the vehicle, a seatbelt cutter and window breaker can be a life saver.
  • Shovel: If you travel places where the snow piles up, a compact shovel is a great thing to have in your car in case you need to dig your tires out to get some traction.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Sunscreen and bug spray are great protection if you’re stranded in the heat in a buggy area.

Safety Checklist Before Leaving on Your Trip

  1. Before you travel, make sure to check the last time your oil was changed. If you’ve gone past the date or mileage, get it changed. There are plenty of places that you don’t even have to get out of your car to get the oil changed.
  2. Make sure you check your cars fluids like the the windshield wiper fluid, oil, coolant, and brakes. If it will be freezing, get all-season windshield wiper fluid so it won’t freeze in it’s tank and coolant that is appropriate for the temperatures.
  3. Check your tire pressure and tread with a tire gauge to make sure you don’t have any of them going flat. You can find the recommended pressure number on the side wall of the tire or inside the door of your car. Also, check the tread depth to ensure adequate grip and safety on the road.
  4. Map out your route ahead of time, especially if you’re going to a new place. On the off chance you lose service and can’t pull up directions, it’s important to know where your next turn is. You can actually download certain areas on Google Maps which allows you to get directions within that area without service. Here on instructions to do that. It’s also never a bad idea to print out the directions ahead of time (I know, kind of old school) or keep a physical map in your car.
  5. Check the weather forecast for your route and destination. Weather can change rapidly, and being prepared for and aware of the changes is important

If you’re interested in more information I share about Road Tripping with Kids specifically or Traveling with Kids in general, check out these posts! Hopefully you found these safety items for your car list and safety checklist helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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