A Guide for Families: Creating An Emergency Kit

Be prepared for an emergency situation.

Emergencies like natural disasters, fires, injuries, and other crisis situations can happen in the blink of an eye, so it is important to be prepared.

When children and their families prepare for an emergency situation together, children learn the basics of staying safe, and it can make emergencies less stressful because they will feel empowered.

Create an Emergency Kit

Take some time to create an emergency kit box with your child — turn it into a treasure hunt or a game to keep your child engaged. As you put items in the box, explain how they would help during an emergency.

Prepare kits for your home, work, and vehicle and review them every six months to a year to replace expired food items or clothing your child has outgrown.

Use this checklist to prepare kits for your family.

Basic Needs

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation).
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food).
  • Can opener for food.
  • Emergency lighting, such as a flashlight, head lamp, or battery-powered lantern.
  • Extra batteries in common sizes and batteries for any other devices such as hearing aids.
  • Car chargers, power banks, and adapters for home use equipment and devices.
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio with USB port(s).
  • Battery-powered or backup smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
  • Appliance thermometers for your refrigerator and freezer.
  • A surge protector power strip.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Warm clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, and emergency blankets to keep you warm in cold temperatures.

Personal Needs

  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation).
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream.
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet.
  • Cash.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes.
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children.


  • A list of your prescription medicines. Include information about your diagnosis, dosage, frequency, medical supply needs, and allergies.
  • Medical equipment such as inhalers, hearing aids, glucose meters and test strips, eyeglasses, etc.
  • First aid supplies:
    • Bandages.
    • Antibiotic ointment.
    • Antiseptic wipes.
    • Latex gloves.
    • Oral thermometer.
    • Hand sanitizer.
    • Tweezers and scissors.
  • Nonprescription drugs, like pain and fever relievers, antihistamines, and antidiarrheal medicines.
  • A cooler and chemical ice packs to chill medicines that need to be refrigerated.


  • Copies of insurance cards (home, car, health).
  • Personal identification.
  • Vital records.
  • Photocopied veterinary records and registration information.
  • Personal care plans.

More Information

For more information about preparing for an emergency with your family, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready Campaign website: ready.gov.

Print This Resource

This resource is available as a printable PDF (English) (Spanish).

Series Navigation

The Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series highlights several early childhood topics to support parents and caregivers who are caring for young children. Use the list below to navigate through each series topic:

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Picture: A young baby looks up at the camera.
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