27 things you need to keep in your car


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I’m usually the one who takes and picks up the kids from day care. Every morning, I load up our new van (read: 20-year-old, but new to us) with carseat after carseat after carseat. It’s a routine I’ve pretty much mastered.

However, the other day, the van was in the shop, so we mixed things up. I started cooking dinner while my husband went to get the kids – a journey that should have taken him only a few minutes. Twenty minutes went by, then twenty-five. Finally, he returned… with a story:

After he loaded up the kids, the car wouldn’t start. Thankfully, a kind stranger noticed him, with a handful of buckled-up kids in the backseat, trying to get the car to start. She came over and asked if he needed help. They determined that the battery was dead, and within seconds, this wonderful passerby was at my husband’s side with a portable battery jumping machine.

“If you have kids, you really need one of these,” she told him. And that got me thinking. What else should we keep in our car for moments like these?

Well, here’s our list of on-the-go car essentials:


Mommy Must Haves

  • Auxiliary cord (where would I be without my podcasts?)
  • Travel mug
  • Sunglasses
  • Phone charger
  • Gum/mints/sugar of any kind


The Essentials

  • Tissues
  • Umbrella
  • Ice scraper
  • Pen
  • Spare change
  • Spare bag/shopping bag


For the Kids

  • Wipes
  • Books
  • Pacifier
  • Music
  • Toys



  • Spare tire
  • Tire jack
  • Fix-A-Flat
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jumper cables


In Case of Emergency

  • Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Reflective triangle
  • Multi-tool

What do you keep in your car?

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