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Bug Out Planning with Children 0-5 years of age

It is essential to realize that you are going to need to carry your child for the overwhelming majority of your bug out.  Besides the physical limitations of toddlers and infants they may be emotionally or mentally traumatized by the event that caused the bug out and new surroundings.  This will lead them to be more needy and want to be in frequent reassuring contact with their parent.  As you will already be carrying your family bug out bag, the additional weight of your child has to be incorporated into your bug out planning.  It is necessary but it will ultimately slow you down and cause you to burn more calories.  Plan your energy intake and rest stops to account for this.

Noise reduction is an important aspect of operational security.  This clashes with the need for most young children to yell or cry to express their needs.  This means you need a strategy in place to keep your child quiet if a critical situation arises.  It may be as simple as giving them a pacifier or as advanced as giving them a dose of antihistamine or other substance that may make them drowsy (Talk to a doctor if you are considering this latter strategy!!!!).  Plan and prepare to avoid problems when you are on the road.

Carefully packing a family bug out bag and making your family bug out plan compatible with the limitations presented by having young ones with your bug out group.  We are going to what to pack in your family bug out bag and how to best prepare your family unit to survive when the unforeseen strikes.

A family bug out bag can differ from a typical solo BOB in a few important ways.  Although it has the same primary purpose of being a mobile kit to help you survive, it must be tailored to meet the needs of multiple people of various ages and skillsets.  Here are some items to add into your family bug out bag based on the ages of the children you will be evacuating with:

Family Bug Out Bag: Infants and Toddlers (Age 0-5)

  • Combination child carrier and pack: This will enable you to carry both your child and survival gear.  It is ideal to utilize one of these combination packs as an option for your family bug out bag if you have a toddler or infant that you are going to bug out with.  Having a combination child carrier/pack will enable you to carry everything comfortably and allow you to move further faster.
  • Diapers: This is obvious for anyone who has been a parent but it might be something that is overlooked when packing your firestarters, paracord, and other survival gear.  Pack both disposable and reusable diapers.  Reusable diapers are multiuse with some basic treatment, but need time to dry which may be hard to do in wet weather.  They are also multipurpose and can be put to many other tasks beyond their primary objective.
  • Medicine syringe/Eyedropper: This goes along with any medication you may be giving your child.  It may be as simple as a reflux medication but you do not want to have to improvise a delivery method while on the move.  Medicine syringes are lightweight and take up very little room.  If your infant may need to ingest any medication be sure to pack one.
  • Formula:  You may pack rations or be able to forage and hunt for yourself but what about the little one?  Even if the mother is currently breastfeeding it is wise to pack some powdered formula.  This will enable another person to feed the child if the mother is separated or otherwise unable to do so.
  • Pacifier: If your child takes a pacifier having one packed in your family bug out bag will make sure it comes with you as you evacuate.  A pacifier may help your child sleep and will give you an option for keeping them quiet when maintaining a low volume is imperative.
  • Extra Clothing: As a rule of thumb pack your family bug out bag with 2 more sets of clothing for your child than you pack for yourself.  This will enable you to better regulate their temperature by using the principle of layering and give you options in the event of a diaper accident.
  • Waterproof Bodysuit: This is essential foul weather gear for your infant or toddler.  Keeping them warm and dry will go a long way in reducing parental stress and keeping morale high.  There are many options out there for this, make sure if you already have one that it is packed in your family bug out bag, not hanging in the closet.  Also be sure that if it has been a while since you last performed a review of your family bug out bag that this item (and any other clothing) still fits your growing child.
  • Pre-sterile bottles: These are bottles that are sold in sterile packaging.  It will save you from having to boil a bottle before feeding your child while on the move.  Be sure to keep track of expiration dates on any sterile items as a part of your regular bug out bag reviews.
  • Sterilization agent: This is generally sold in a concentrated powder or liquid form that is diluted with water.  If you have to use any bottle multiple times you will eventually need to sterilize them.  A few drops of sterilizing agent mixed with water in a nalgene or other wide mouthed water bottle can be used to sterilize bottles or other small items.

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