Once I had kids, I learned really quickly that there are things that I HAVE to have in my car or the world might end. I have relied on the things I've had in there by chance too many times, that now I make sure to keep these things in my car at all times!
Kids are so hilarious, because they will pretty much shock you with the things that they will need, want, or require while you're driving, no matter how short the distance.
For that reason, I've put together a list for any new mamas who might not know what her sweet littles are going to put her through every time they get strapped into their car seats.
Diapers and Changing Supplies
I'm telling you that no matter how many diapers you put into your diaper bag, there will be a time and a place for a few extra diapers in your car. Trust me, you will need them. I always keep anywhere from 5-10 diapers and a full pack of wipes. Make sure and check your stash occasionally to make sure you have some back there, and if your babe is sizing up, bring the smaller ones inside and put bigger ones in the car.
I also insist on having changing supplies in my trunk, because I find myself doing a lot of diaper changes there for some reason. I swear I don't actually go out that much, but apparently my children are always in need of changing whenever we leave the house. Isn't that so kind of them? Keeping something like the Changing Pouch from Lassig will make sure you have all your changing goodies on hand. A pad, wipes, diapers, and any of your must-have products for your babe's changes (like the Wink Naturals Baby Bum Balm) will be in one place whenever you need it!
I can't be the only mama who hates feeling like I can't go somewhere because I don't have any way to get my kids around. If the mood takes me to go to the mall, the park, the zoo, whatever, I want to be able to go when I have my kids in the car and we're already on the go.
When my kids were tiny I had to have my Happy Baby Wrap (I have the Ombre and I love it) because it was so nice to just strap them to my chest and I didn't have to fuss with taking the whole infant seat out and carrying it around, or strapping them into a shopping cart. No thanks.
I also insist on keeping my stroller in the trunk of our car, because you just never know when you're going to need it! I suggest having something super lightweight that folds up nice and small like the UPPAbaby 2018 G-Luxe Lightweight Stroller. I love this stroller because it weighs next to nothing, and even has backpack straps if you needed to fold it up and wear it. Keeping it in your car just means you want want to die when you end up at the mall without a stroller and your children pretend like they've never walked before and are rolling on the floor throwing tantrums. That's not what I'm looking to replicate EVER AGAIN.
My kids are somehow not capable of spending any amount of time in the car without having something to entertain them, so I make sure to always have some fun stuff in the car that will keep them happy wherever we're going.
Books are a must for us, and I make sure to have a few different ones for each of my babes, because I have no time to be shuffling books back and forth between kids while I'm driving. Another thing that could be fun to give your littles while driving is something like the Jumbo Glow-in-the-Dark Magnatab so they can draw mess free, and it's even more fun at night!
Keep it Clean
There is nothing I hate more than having my kids spilling all kinds of drinks in the backseat, covering themselves in juice and crackers and sticky stuff. It makes me cringe. So I have to have a few things in my car to keep my kids (mostly) clean while we're in the car. You could be smarter than me and just not let your kid eat in the car, but I can't deal with that kind of negativity from my kids.
I keep extra sippy cups in my car so that I can always transfer drinks (either bottled water or anything I get from the drive-thru) that will keep it from spilling all over the place. Something like the No-Spill Cups by Re-Play will keep all your drinks in the cups instead of in your kid's carseat or your car's floor.
I also make sure to keep some hand sanitizer in my middle console, and any time we get done at the park, mall, play place, beach, outside, etc., I squirt some in their hands and feel a little bit better about my life and keeping most of the germs out of the car and out of their mouths... considering they're going to be eating as soon as they get strapped in. *sigh*
They're inevitable. Whether it's your babes running through a big puddle of mud while you're at the park, your potty training toddler can't hold it till you get home, or you're baby has a blowout, you're going to have to deal with an unexpected clothing change, mamas.
I always keep a change of clothes for both my kids, and 2 pairs of underwear for my sweet little boy in case we don't make it to a bathroom in time. In case of dirty clothes or a really nasty blowout, you will probably want to have something like the Bag-It Portable Trash Bags from Diono. That way you don't have to deal with the gross situation all over your trunk or seat or floor. Just bag it up and deal with it when you get home.
Bonus: Breastfeeding Mamas
When I was nursing (even when I was in my third trimester with both my babes), I would have to have a couple pairs of washable nursing pads because I was constantly leaking through shirts. I would keep them in a little ziplock (so they stayed nice and clean) and either stick them in the trunk with my kids' extra clothes, or in the middle console just so that I could grab them whenever I'm letting down at an inopportune time.