Little girl places stuffed animal in backpack

The Other Backpack Your Child Needs

Growing up, I loved back-to-school time. I loved getting new pencils, clothes, a lunch box and the coolest trapper keeper binder I could find. I purchased all the latest technologies (floppy disks, TI-83 calculator and gel pens) to ensure I would excel in class. And with these shiny new tools, I just knew the upcoming year (like every year) was going to be the best year ever!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed gathering all the things your child needs for school, but as you hit the stores for your back-to-school shopping this year, remember the other backpack your child needs: an emergency go-kit! Preparing a go-kit will ensure that your child has the basic necessities ready to help keep her safe, healthy and occupied in an emergency situation. Working with your child to put the kit together is a great way to start the conversation about what he should do in an emergency. Store the kit somewhere it can be easily accessed by your little one, and when your family practices emergency drills, have your children practice retrieving their bags and carrying them to your designated meet-up location. If your child spends most of her day at school or child care, consider prepping a bag that can be kept at those locations as well.

Building a Child Emergency Go-Kit

Consider including the items listed below in your child’s go-kit, which should be contained in a portable bag, like a backpack. Remember that your family also should have a disaster supplies kit that includes other necessities such as food, water and a radio (for a complete list see Save the Children’s Disaster Checklist and Disaster Supplies Checklist).

  • Comfort item (teddy bear/blanket)
  • Flashlight (battery-operated)
  • Notebook, crayons, pencils
  • Game/Activity (cards/books)
  • ID card or bracelet 
  • Whistle
  • Soap/Soapbox
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Washcloth
  • Comb
  • Extra pair of clothes
  • Jacket

This year, in addition to preparing for school, let’s help ensure our children will be ready for emergencies as well!


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