Nurse-Recommended Sick Kids Survival Kits

When your child gets sick, it can be stressful to search for supplies at the last minute. For me, this inevitably occurs late at night when I discover that I don’t have the tools I need to comfort my kids. As a pediatric nurse and a mom of five, I recommend gathering your supplies beforehand to save time. In this article, I’ll tell you everything you should gather for sick kids survival kits. Being prepared will ensure you have the necessary items even when they’re in short supply. 

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Know what you are up against

Many of the illnesses your children will deal with will frequently fall under two categories:

  1. Respiratory Illnesses: This includes a host of viruses that cause similar symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, sore throats, and runny noses.
  2. Gastrointestinal (Stomach) Illnesses: These include viruses that cause the dreaded vomiting and diarrhea symptoms.

The benefits of assembling an emergency sick kit

  • You will have the items you need in the event of a shortage
  • You will be able to stay with your child instead of running to the store or waiting for a delivery
  • You will be able to help your child immediately
  • You’ll have the supplies to be organized and monitor your child

What to Put In Your Sick Kids Survival Kits

To create sick survival kit, I suggest using a medium-sized container with a lid to keep everything together. Here are some essential items I recommend including:

General Items

  • Children’s Tylenol and Motrin: These medications are highly effective in treating pain and fever. Make sure to follow dosing instructions carefully.

  • Thermometer: You’ll want a reliable way to monitor your child’s temperature.

  • Pulse Ox: This small device can help you monitor your child’s oxygen levels, which can be useful when dealing with respiratory symptoms.

  • Hand Sanitizer: Keep sanitizer close by when you’ve got a lot of sick germs circulating around your home.

Respiratory Specific Items

  • Soft Tissues: Keep plenty of tissues on hand to avoid using scratchy tissues on your child’s already raw nose.

  • Throat Lozenges/Cough Drops (for children over the age of 6): These can soothe a sore throat and help with coughs. Be sure to follow the directions and not provide more lozenges than directed.

  • Honey (for children over the age of 1): There is evidence that a spoonful of honey can be more effective than over-the-counter medicines in treating children’s coughs.

  • Lip balm: Colds can lead to chapped and sore lips, so keeping your choice of lip balm on hand can help.

A mother talks to her daughter about a stomach ache. Creating sick kids survival kits at h

Stomach Illness Specific Items

  • Rubber gloves: Having a few pairs of rubber gloves can make cleaning up vomit much easier. You can quickly grab everything without getting vomit all over yourself.

  • Garbage bags: Having a few garbage bags ready can make transporting all the dirty laundry a cinch. If you use disposable paper towels and wipes to clean up, it’s nice to have a separate garbage sack for these items.

  • Masks: We all know that the smell of vomit can make you sick. If your child shares a room with a sibling, offer them a mask while you clean up. And if you’re particularly squeamish, wear a mask yourself.

  • Rehydration fluid, such as Pedialyte: Encouraging your child to drink fluids can help prevent dehydration caused by fevers or stomach bug. One of my favorite ways to easily store rehydration fluids is to purchase them in powdered form so all I have to do is add water.

  • Disinfecting wipes: Stomach viruses are passed through close contact with infected fluids. You’ll want to be sure you have something to disinfect hard surfaces with. Choose a product that you feel comfortable using in your home.

  • Old ice cream bucket and plastic grocery bags: An ice cream bucket is a great size to use as a vomit receptacle. Line it with a grocery sack to make cleaning up vomit super easy. Simply tie the sack and throw it away in an outdoor garbage can. Put another grocery sack in the bucket, and you’re good to go.
  • Baby wipes: Baby wipes are helpful for a quick clean of the face after your child vomits. They’re also nice for when your child has diarrhea and may need some help keeping their bum clean. Water wipes are a great non-alcohol-based wipe for this. If your child develops a rash, alcohol-based wipes can sting and increase discomfort.

  • Bum cream: Even an older child may appreciate some bum cream if they develop a rash from having diarrhea. Paying special attention to your child’s skin when they’re sick can make a big difference in their comfort levels.

A mother uses a nasal aspirator to suction her babies nose.

Infant Considerations

If you have a baby in the home, I recommend keeping a couple of extra items in your kit. 

  • Bulb syringe or other infant suctioning device

  • Baby Friendly Saline Solution

All of these items are easy to find at your local supermarket or pharmacy. If you are worried about spending too much money on the list, just purchase a few of the items at the time when you are already grocery shopping. 

Important Reminders About Sick Kids Survival Kits

Store your kit in a secure place where your child cannot access it. You do not want your kids accidentally ingesting the medications or the hand sanitizer. If you haven’t used your kit for a while, test that the electronic items are still working and have useable batteries. Double-check the medications to make sure they are not expired. Remember to update and replace items in the kit as needed.

Final Thoughts

As parents, there is nothing worse than when we feel helpless when trying to comfort our kids. Having the right supplies on hand will empower you to provide the quality of care that your children deserve. When you are prepared, you can parent the way you want to instead of giving into panic. Next time your child gets sick in the middle of the night, you’ll be glad you took the time to assemble your sick kids survival kit!

Looking for more information on how to comfort your kids when they are sick? Check out my articles on how to naturally soothe fevers in children and understanding children’s pain

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