13 Must-Have Emergency Supplies for Child Care

In building a kit of emergency supplies for child care, essential items include diapers, wipes, formula or food, pediatric medicines, sunscreen, bug repellent, feeding supplies, a portable crib or carrier, hygiene items, a change of clothes, comfort items, books or activities, safety gear, and identification details.

In this article, I will unpack child care emergency preparedness resources, and 13 must have emergency supplies for child care.

Key Takeaways

  • Emergencies can strike at any time, irrespective of the region’s traditional ‘risk factors’. The key is to be prepared.
  • A well-equipped emergency supplies child care kit is not an option, but a necessity for every child care provider.
  • As caregivers, we must be equipped with the latest technology to offer an environment of safety and comfort during emergencies.
  • Through child care emergency preparedness resources, the people most responsible for our children’s safety can rise to meet any challenge.
  • Proper planning, upgrade, and maintenance of all child care safety supplies is integral to improve the odds of thriving during an emergency.

As an early childhood educator, nothing underscores the importance of preparedness more than the potential threat of an emergency circumstance. The air was crisp, chill was setting in, and the forewarning of weather analysts about a looming snowstorm was omnipresent.

Still, as Texans, such weather extremities were almost alien to us.

But 2020 had other plans.

Weathering through a snowstorm in Texas, which we once deemed implausible, taught us some invaluable lessons about child care emergency preparedness. From the immediate scarcity of essentials to the long powerless nights, the challenges were strikingly real.

In such a scenario, a well-equipped emergency supplies child care kit could be our beacon of hope, a lifebelt ensuring our children’s well-being, without them being victims of our unpreparedness.

The reality of emergencies, whether they arise from severe weather conditions like a snowstorm or unexpected occurrences like wildfires, does not discriminate between regions.

Such eventualities press the importance of emergency preparedness for child care in all areas, regardless of their traditional ‘risk factors’.

The 2020 Texas winter storm or the 2023 Hawaiian wildfires are just a few instances that delineate the relevance of this preparedness, these are not just vestiges of doomsday preppers, but are immensely practical and life-saving measures.

Emergency Supplies Child Care Providers Must Have

In the realm of child care, it’s vital to implement appropriate child care emergency procedures and to have an all-inclusive child care emergency kit. To ensure optimum care even in the midst of crisis, providers need to consider the wide range of needs specifically catered for children of all ages. Let’s delve into the essential items that should be part of every child care provider’s emergency prep arsenal.

1. Diapers and Wipes

Hygiene is paramount during emergencies, hence, diapers and wipes accommodate this basic necessity for infants and toddlers.

2. Baby Formula or Toddler Food

A stable supply of baby formula or toddler food guarantees nutrition during emergencies when regular meal preparations might be impossible.

3. Pediatric Medicines

In the likelihood of health disturbances or maintaining ongoing medical needs, be sure to keep a stock of pediatric medicines.

child care emergency kit items

4. Child-Safe Sunscreen and Bug Repellent

To shield children from harmful sun rays and bug bites during potential outdoor stays during emergencies, child-safe sunscreen and bug repellents are necessary.

5. Bottles, Sippy Cups, and Utensils

Feeding necessities like bottles, sippy cups, and utensils are crucial in maintaining regular feeding patterns in crisis situations.

6. Portable Crib or Baby Carrier

A portable crib or baby carrier can provide a safe and comfortable sheltering space for infants during emergency relocations.

7. Child-Specific Hygiene Items

In addition to diapers, soft toothbrushes, fluoride-free toothpaste, and tear-free soap meet hygiene needs and spur comfort for children during emergency occurrences.

8. Change of Clothes

Keeping additional clothes, including layers for warmth, is key for maintaining comfort and regulating body temperatures in fluctuating weather conditions during emergencies.

9. Comfort Items

Small toys, blankets, or pacifiers help provide psychological comfort and a sense of familiarity to children during crises, aiding their emotional well-being.

10. Children’s Books or Activity Supplies

Engagement and distraction are crucial during high-stress periods. This is where children’s books and activity supplies come in handy.

11. Safety Gear

Child-proof containers and similar safety gears can prevent accidents during the unsettling experiences of crisis scenarios.

12. Identification Info

To ensure quick and correct identification of children, recent photos and identification details become paramount, especially when evacuating from or reuniting at the child care facility.

13. Child Carrier or Stroller

For ease of mobility for not just infants but also toddlers during potential evacuations, a sturdy child carrier or stroller is a must-have.

To conclude this section, a top-notch child care emergency planning is not just confined to adult-centric emergency supplies. Instead, a tailored approach factoring in a wide range of needs across all ages of children is what truly sets the groundwork for fully prepared child care providers in times of emergencies.

The Importance of Being Prepared: An Overview

Child Care Emergency Preparedness

Addressing the modern necessity for child care emergency preparedness involves both thorough planning and effective execution. The ever-present threat and unpredictable nature of natural disasters and other emergencies mandate that child care providers be well-equipped and ready for all possibilities.

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Our primary concern is, of course, the physical safety and health of the little ones we care for. However, their emotional well-being is equally vital, particularly during potentially distressing events. To this end, comprehensive child care emergency procedures are a critical piece of the preparedness puzzle, with the need to include appropriate emergency supplies, effective communication methods, and practical immediate action plans.

We recognize that a crucial component of preparedness is regular child care emergency drills. These drills ensure that our staff, as well as the children in our care, are thoroughly acquainted with how to respond in emergency situations. By adopting a proactive approach to training, involving mock scenarios such as evacuation or lockdown procedures, and constantly refining our response protocols, we enhance our levels of preparedness.

The importance of these drills is underscored when we consider that emergencies often unfold rapidly, where every second counts. A swift and educated child care emergency response can make the difference between a chaotic, panic-fuelled reaction and a smooth, well-rehearsed execution of our emergency plan.

The key takeaway here is the importance of preparation in ensuring the safety and emotional reassurance of children in emergency situations. Always bear in mind that our level of preparedness underwrites the success of our emergency response, making our center a reliable refuge when the unexpected happens.

Essential Water and Food Supplies for Child Care Centers

In a well-structured child care emergency plan, ensuring appropriate water and food supplies is an integral part of safeguarding children’s health and welfare. Let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of streamlining sufficient resources to cater to the diverse dietary needs of our little ones during emergencies.

Securing a Water Supply for Safety and Hygiene

Foremost in child care emergency planning is securing a reliable and safe water supply. The importance of clean water goes beyond hydration – it’s central to maintaining hygiene standards and preventing potentially dangerous health issues. For this reason, filtered water containers like LifeStraw, renown for eliminating a high percentage of bacteria, parasites, and microplastics, are indispensable child care safety supplies.

Non-perishable Food Choices for Little Ones

Being prepared with a range of non-perishable food choices can ensure children receive balanced nutrition during an unexpected emergency event. Foods that are both nutrient-rich and easy to digest, such as granola bars and dried fruits, form the bedrock of emergency preparedness for child care. Listed below are food items that cut across all the food groups while being wholly safe and nourishing for children.

Food GroupSuitable Non-perishable Foods
ProteinCanned chicken, tuna, nuts and seeds
FruitsApplesauce, dried fruits
DairyUHT milk, cheese
VegetablesCanned low-sodium vegetables, vegetable juice
GrainsOatmeal, cereals, whole grain crackers

Feeding Infants During an Emergency

Infants have specific dietary requirements, making them a critical consideration within any child care emergency plan. A supply of baby formula, along with an assortment of easily cleaned feeding tools, are fundamental. As we morph our routines to accommodate the unexpected, the capacity of child care centers to adapt, as well, delineates their readiness to tackle an emergency.

Building a Comprehensive First Aid Kit for Child Care

The importance of a child care emergency kit cannot be overstated. Rooted at the core of all child care safety supplies, the emergency first aid kit serves as a beacon of immediate medical aid during critical situations where access to a doctor or hospital is not feasible.

Respected organizations like the American Red Cross offer a variety of first aid supplies that lay the foundation of any effective first aid kit. However, it is essential to tailor these offerings to the specific needs and circumstances of your child care center.

In addition to bandages, wipes, tweezers, and scissors, the first aid kit should contain tools to combat life-threatening situations that could arise during times of emergencies. Thermometers and pulse oximeters have become integral pieces of the modern first aid kit, especially in the COVID-19 era.

Furthermore, an emergency blanket is a valuable item for any emergency supplies child care necessitates. These blankets do wonders in preventing shock and heat loss, which are common causes of critical conditions during emergencies.

Medication management during a crisis is an essential part of emergency preparedness for child care centers.

Children and caregivers might have specific medical requirements, requiring a dedicated section in the first aid kit. The ability to provide required medication while battling an emergency is pivotal and underlines the importance of having a precise and exhaustive first aid kit.

First Aid ItemPurpose
Bandages and Wound DressingsDress wounds and prevent infections
Antibacterial WipesClean wounds and surfaces
TweezersRemove splinters or foreign objects from wounds
Medical ScissorsCut bandages or clothing
ThermometerMonitor body temperature
Pulse OximeterCheck oxygen levels in blood
Emergency BlanketRetain body heat and prevent shock
Individual MedicationsAttend to individual medical needs of children and caregivers

Shelter and Comfort: Clothing and Bedding Essentials

As a part of the holistic approach towards child care safety supplies, ensuring that children are kept warm, properly dressed, and at ease during adverse situations must be our priority. When it comes to child care emergency planning, we need to consider the fact that children, quite unlike adults, are far more susceptible to the elements. The slightest drop or rise in ambient temperature can have potentially harmful effects on their well-being.

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However, this doesn’t just stop at foreseeing an adequate number of clothes for different weather conditions. The quality of these garments, their ability to protect the wearer from the elements, and durability are all important factors to be considered when procuring child care emergency preparedness resources. We must ensure to also cater to the specific needs of the diverse age groups that would be under our care.

Age GroupClothing EssentialsBedding Essentials
InfantsBodysuits, rompers, and sleepers; socks and booties; mittens and capsBassinet sheets, baby blankets, swaddles
ToddlersT-shirts, pajamas, jackets; socks and indoor shoesSmall pillows, toddler blankets, sleeping bags
Preschoolers and UpWeather-specific clothes; sturdy footwearComforters, rollout mattresses, small pillows

Bedding essentials are also highly crucial in safeguarding the comfort of children. The right kind of bedding aids in maintaining a child’s body temperature and also ensures a sound sleep. Emergency conditions are stressful for young ones and a good night’s sleep can make a world of difference to their mental and physical well-being during such times. The familiarity of their own bedding can provide a semblance of security and continuity amidst the chaos and uncertainty.

Remember, it isn’t just about surviving the situation but ensuring every step is taken to provide the comfort and care children need. After all, they are our future and they deserve nothing but the best, even in the face of adversity.

Customizing Your Child Care Emergency Kit for Special Needs

As child care providers, the responsibility of ensuring all children, adults, and caregivers are prepared for emergency scenarios is significant. Tailoring your primary child care emergency preparedness for child care strategies to cradle the unique susceptibilities and needs within your care is among today’s most pressing initiatives. More than just acquiring emergency supplies for child care, it’s crucial to adapt these resources to accommodate all eventualities, creating a comprehensive child care emergency response plan that ensures the safety of everyone involved.

Accommodating the Needs of Infants

Special attention needs to be given to infants who can’t communicate their needs verbally. Infants require specialized items such as dedicated food, precise feeding tools, and specialized medication. Infant-friendly liquid sources should always be part of your stockpile. Here’s a quick checklist which can be incorporated into your emergency kit:

  • Easy-to-digest baby food or formula
  • Several bottles and nipples
  • Bibs and clean cloths
  • Baby wipes and diapers
  • Comfort items like teething rings or stuffed toys

Provisions for Adults and Caregivers

Adults and caregivers should never be forgotten in the preparedness plan. To continue their crucial role, they need to stay healthy both physically and mentally. Consider the possibility that caregivers may need to sustain for some time without access to basic amenities or even the chance to rest. Here are some provisions that can go a long way:

  • Ready-to-eat meals and high-energy snacks
  • Water purification tablets or filters
  • First Aid Manual and a comprehensive first aid kit
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Over-the-counter and prescription medicines

Tailoring Kits for Seniors and Disabled Individuals

Often overlooked, the needs of mobility-impaired seniors or those with disabilities must also be considered. Tailoring kits for these special needs individuals shows a conscientious preparedness that’s aligned with the overarching principle of ensuring safety and comfort for all during emergencies. Here are a few items to consider.

  • Medicines for chronic diseases
  • Hearing aid batteries, if necessary
  • Walking aids like canes or walkers
  • A list of personal contacts for emergency
  • Detailed instructions about personal care requirements

Remember, the goal is to ensure that everyone is safe during an emergency. As a child care provider, your actions can affect the entire community, making your role in emergency preparedness a significant contributor to overall community resilience.

Child Care Emergency Preparedness: Drills and Procedures

In the realm of child care emergency preparedness, the commitment extends far beyond just amassing necessary supplies. Emergency preparedness is a holistic concept hinging on detailed planning and regular practice of those plans, primarily through child care emergency drills.

It is fundamental to demarcate the roles and responsibilities of each member of the staff explicitly, ensuring everyone knows their part in an emergency. Just as crucial is the provision for redundancy, anticipating and preparing for the potential absence of personnel. The goal is to guarantee a seamless emergency response under any circumstances.

In the heart of this preparation lies the creation and strict adherence to Occupant Emergency Plans (OEPs). OEPs serve as manuals for emergencies, tailored as per the specific attributes and vulnerabilities of the child care facility. These plans should be versatile, ready to accommodate a multitude of hazards, and adaptable to the local conditions of the facility.

Collaboration with local emergency responders and compliance with established safety codes, such as the NFPA Life Safety Code, is a deciding factor in the effectiveness of an child care emergency response. Establishing and maintaining these relationships not only improves the speed and efficiency of the response but also ensures everyone involved understands their role and what’s expected of them during an emergency.

Engaging in frequent child care emergency drills plays a significant role in assimilating these procedures into every staff member’s psyche. These drills enable staff to practice and perfect their actions, promoting efficiency and decisiveness in the actual event of an emergency.

“Remember, it’s not ‘if’ a disaster happens, but ‘when.’ So, when the time comes, it is not the plan but the preparedness—the drills you did, the reflexes you developed, the readiness of your team—that stands between chaos and order.”

Child care emergency planning aims to offer the best possible protection for every child, tending to their safety and well-being against all potential dangers. This effort requires a proactive approach, steadfast commitment, and concrete action—a combination that ensures that every child and caregiver in a child care facility feels safe and secure at all times.

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Emergency DrillPurposeFrequency
Fire DrillTo ensure all staff and children can quickly and safely leave the building in case of a fire.Monthly
Lockdown DrillTo practice the procedure of securing the building from an external threat.Twice per year
Evacuation DrillTo practice the evacuation procedure in case of a natural disaster such as a flood or earthquake.Annually
Shelter-in-Place DrillTo prepare staff and children for situations where they must remain inside the building for an extended time.Annually

Utilizing Resources for Child Care Emergency Preparedness

In the realm of child care, being armed with the right resources can significantly elevate the caliber of emergency preparedness. As a caretaker, governing bodies and community systems can equip you with tools ranging from succinct guidelines to broad supportive networks. Coupled with insights derived from past emergencies, your child care emergency response can be strengthened at all fronts.

Guidelines and Training for Optimal Response

Diverse child care emergency preparedness resources exist, many of which are encompassed in toolboxes and guidelines like those provided by the U.S. General Services Administration. These handy resources often include comprehensive checklists and templates, facilitating the development of tailored emergency plans. By using these resources, you are equipped with a structured framework bolstering your child care emergency response capabilities. To further bolster these capabilities, various training opportunities are available which aim to standardize and streamline emergency responses.

Government and Community Support Systems

Government agencies and community organizations offer invaluable support systems for child care providers. With their assistance, your child care safety supplies and procedures can not only be reinforced but also expanded, covering a broader range of potential emergencies. This support extends to various aspects, including regulatory compliances, access to wider networks, and financial aid, reinforcing your systemic readiness in times of crisis.

Learning from Past Emergencies: Case Studies

The wisdom garnered from past emergencies serves as one of the most valuable preparedness resources. Examining case studies imbues valuable lessons, not only highlighting the gaps in existing protocols but also suggesting anticipatory and corrective measures. Thorough analyses of these instances can help enhance the overall resilience of your child care facility, equipping you with the know-how to respond effectively in similar situations.

In essence, the utilization of these resources translates to shoring up your facility’s capability to handle any emergency scenario. The end goal remains consistent – the safety and comfort of all the children under our care, even in the face of an unforeseen crisis.


In wrapping up, we underline the fact that emergency preparedness for child care is not a disjointed task but a systematic, all-encompassing process. It federates an incremental readiness plan that ranges from credentialing the right emergency supplies for child care to carrying out well-exercised emergency drills.

By bringing together resources, appreciating the value of preparedness, and forging an alliance of support, child care positions itself as a haven of safety and resilience during perilous times. Addressing the individual requirements of every child and caregiver meticulously and comprehensively, shines a light on a potential future where even against the harshest conditions, our paramount preparation can indeed save the day.

In the end, thorough education, practice, and having the appropriate child care emergency preparedness resources on hand is integral to building a robust plan for potential emergencies. The journey towards achieving preparedness is methodical, requiring steadfastness, commitment, and collaborative efforts. Together, we can cultivate a safer environment for our children, where their well-being remains unparallel even under unprecedented events.


What are the must-have emergency supplies for child care?

Supply essentials include items like diapers and wipes, baby formula or toddler foods, child-safe sunscreen and bug repellent, bottles, sippy cups, and utensils. The child care emergency kit should also have a portable crib or baby carrier, child-specific toiletries, a change of clothes, comfort items like a toy or pacifier, children’s books or activity supplies, child-proof containers for safety, recent photos and identification details, and a child carrier or stroller for mobility.

Why is emergency preparedness critical in child care?

Emergency preparedness is a fundamental component of child care provision. This is due to the unpredictability and swift onset of natural disasters, which necessitates ready access to proper supplies and well-rehearsed emergency procedures. Regular child care emergency drills ensure that staff and children are well-versed in emergency response actions, enhancing the overall safety of the care environment.

What food and water supplies are essential in a child care emergency kit?

Securing a water supply is essential for safety and hygiene. Portable water filters such as LifeStraw are recommended. Non-perishable food that is digestible and nutrient-rich should also be included. Special considerations are needed for infants, for whom supplies of baby formula and necessary feeding tools should be kept ready.

How should a comprehensive first aid kit for child care be prepared?

A comprehensive first aid kit should cover common injuries and medical occurrences. Additions suitable for the COVID-19 era like thermometers and pulse oximeters, alongside emergency blankets, should be included. Accessible and plentiful medications for children and caregivers based on individual medical requirements should also be stocked.

What considerations need to be made for shelter and comfort during emergencies in child care?

Appropriate clothes adaptive to varying weather conditions should be stored. Bedding essentials like portable cribs present an effective solution for quick setup, ensuring children rest in a secure and familiar environment. These measures minimize the stress associated with displacement during emergencies.

How to customize a child care emergency kit for special needs?

The kit should be inclusive, accommodating the needs of infants with dedicated food and precise feeding tools. Provisions for adults and caregivers are equally important. Care should also be taken to stock disability-specific items in the kits and plan logistics like evacuation routes and transport that factor in the needs of seniors or disabled individuals.

Why are emergency drills and procedures important in child care?

Drills and procedures ingrain emergency response actions into staff and children, ensuring a swift response when every second counts. These exercises should simulate potential scenarios, like evacuations or lockdowns, and refine response protocols.

What resources can be utilized for child care emergency preparedness?

Guidelines and training given by governing bodies like the U.S. General Services Administration should be utilized. These resources provide comprehensive checklists and templates to help develop emergency plans. Local government agencies, community support systems, and case studies of past emergencies can also provide valuable insights.

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