Caring For Kids, by Mrs. H.

Are you responsible for the most valuable commodity in the world? Do you have small children? Are you a grandparent? Even though your grown children currently think you are crazy, will they be showing up at your door in a SHTF scenario? What about the neighbor down the road, the single mother that is just barely getting by financially? Even though they are not actually your responsibility, will you be able to turn away a stranger with an infant or small child pleading for help? What does God expect out of us? What if you were suddenly responsible for an infant or toddler? Do you have some basic supplies or plans  for this scenario? In many ways, infants and toddlers require careful planning when preparing for a TEOTWAWKI situation.
Infants and toddlers can throw a curve ball into your prepping plans.  Here are some basic needs that toddlers and babies require, that many people may not think to have in their long term storage. Some of these suggestions are simple and inexpensive but extremely valuable. Anyone that has taken care of children knows that keeping them happy and comfortable reduces a lot of stress on the caretaker. Sadly, some parents will not have a clue about what to do when they run out or cannot afford/find disposable diapers. Some of these items are cost (and space) prohibitive for someone that may not be definitely responsible children.  Additionally, there are a few transportation type items my family has acquired. We will use these in a SHTF scenario, but we also use them in our day to day life.

Babies need diapers, plain and simple. Instead of stockpiling expensive and bulky boxes of disposable diapers, I bought a pattern (link) and made one size diapers that fit a baby from 8 pounds to 35 pounds. Both of our children can literally fit in the same diaper, even though they are almost 20 pounds different in weight. These are not your thin pre-folds found on the Wal-Mart shelf (don’t buy them unless you’re using them as burp cloths, they’re terribly thin and not very useful). I can also use the leftover material from the diapers as cloth wipes or the diapers themselves as bandages in extremely unfortunate situations. A couple of drawers of diapers that last for years saves much more space (and money) than years’ worth of disposable diapers. How good would you feel to hand a struggling parent a few re-usable diapers (you may need to show them how they are used) before sending them down the road? Don’t forget a good supply of safety pins for many reasons. Plus, when using my homemade laundry detergent, I don’t have any additional soap to buy or store.  You can find good, used diapers through a diaper cleaning service, online, and at garage sales. Get creative; they are out there if you look for them.

Babies also require milk. Most people can agree that nursing is the most beneficial form of nourishment for an infant. It also is simpler. For example, there is no need to find a bottle (let alone sanitize it), it is always at the right temperature, no one has to measure out precise ingredients, and I can’t think of a single time it has ever been recalled. However, it can be painful to nurse and sometimes it just is not an option. If you suddenly find yourself caring for an infant what are you going to feed that baby?

Through my research, I have found several goats’ milk recipes. Goats’ milk has very nutritious properties and is supposed to be easier for infants to digest than a cow’s milk. So, if you have access to goats, search for some recipes and see if this is something that may benefit your situation. Unfortunately, goats simply are not an option for my family. We live on a military installation and the housing authorities are adamant on their pet policies. Goats will not do here, which leads me to a formula recipe I found in a cookbook. The recipe’s ingredients are common staples in most pantries.

12 ounces evaporated milk
2 Tablespoons Dark Corn Syrup, Sugar, or Brown Sugar
2 ¼ Cup Water (my Dr. recommends boiling all water, even bottled water, to kill bacteria before giving to infants)

Mix these ingredients together (be sure that the water has cooled to an appropriate temperature) then feed to the baby. This can be refrigerated after use and stored for several days.
Since this recipe does not have additional vitamins or iron that infants require, liquid vitamin drops would be important to add in order to meet the child’s nutrient requirements.
As a disclaimer, I am not a health care provider. Perhaps this information will be helpful to a child in a SHTF scenario. In the meantime, please consult with a medical professional with questions or recommendations for the health of your child.

When TEOTWAWKI occurs, how are you going to transport that kiddo if we have to? This is a subject that, unless you are currently or know you will be responsible for children, may be a minor concern. Transporting a child “legally” in a vehicle will not be a priority however; a car seat does keep the child safe and stationary so the other occupants can remain alert to the environment around them. I do not believe that traveling via motorized vehicle will be an option in most SHTF scenarios so, let’s concentrate on non-motorized transportation options.
First off, bicycles are great to have at hand. They provide a quick, efficient, and cheap mode of transportation. But, how will you transport the children on a bike? Well, you could install one of those plastic seats over the handle bars or behind your own seat. Used ones are plentiful and inexpensive at garage sales.  Or, here’s another option. We chose a bike trailer. We purchased an Aosom Elite 3 in 1 from an eBay store. This is a cheaper model, but one is better than none, right? What is nice about this trailer is that two children (up to a combined weight of 88 pounds) can ride in it simultaneously. The trailer has a mesh cover to allow air flow, but it also keeps rocks, sticks and larger bugs from infiltrating the cockpit area. It came standard with a clear plastic cover to go over the mesh to keep rain off the children or to keep the cold weather out. One of the requirements I had when looking for a bike trailer was that it had to convert easily from a trailer to a stroller. This trailer simply attaches to pull behind a bike, and it has a front swivel wheel that allows it to become a stroller. The swivel wheel can be “locked” in a forward position to be used for jogging. The handle bar at the back of the trailer doubles as a roll over bar and can be adjusted to be more comfortable for those of different heights pushing the stroller.  There is also an enclosed area at the back of the trailer that is fairly large (for a size idea, it can fit 4 gallons of milk). Another neat feature is that many trailers can be converted to be on skis for those in snowy regions. A simple ski kit is available on eBay for those that snowshoe or Cross Country Ski. Now, if funds are not an issue for you, I would probably recommend a trailer with a larger front wheel. This would make the trailer more compatible for rugged terrain. Furthermore, when the kids outgrow this, it may be retrofitted to haul game, goods, firewood or used as a great barter item.

What if hiking is more your style or a bike trailer is not feasible for you? Here are some other options. While hiking (or even doing house work) with a “fresh” baby, my Moby Wrap was a life saver. The Moby is a long piece of fabric with a stretch. You can even make your own, just do a search for how to on online. For us, the Moby worked well while the kids were just a few months old. The bigger they grew, the more difficult it was for me to carry them.

Then, I was introduced to a Deuter Kid Comfort Carrier. These distribute the child’s weight more evenly on my body, making long walks more enjoyable for both mommy and the child. Each of our Deuters have a kickstand (which allows us to double the back pack as a high chair because of the balance the kickstand provides), strap in harness, shade cover, and rain shield. They also have mesh pockets on the side, and a deep pocket under the child’s seat. We can store diapers, food, water, and other necessities in the deep pocket. This pack does not allow you to carry “tons” of items for a BOB, but it is perfect for me as a Bug Home Bag, if I am just running errands throughout town. It is perfect for everyday use, too. It frees my hands but also allows a fussy child to be comforted close to mommy or daddy.

Trying to be prepared can be expensive. We were blessed to pick up a Deuter at a garage sale, and the other was a gift from my parents. Here is a money saving recommendation. When trying to get equipment, head to an REI store (or similar facility) if you have the luxury. Be prepared to stay for several hours. Get properly fitted for a backpack. I strongly suggest this, as this will increase your comfort while carrying the child. There are also great videos on YouTube explaining how to properly fit yourself to your pack. Put your child in the backpack and see how you both like it.  Walk around the store for half an hour or longer. Try several different brands and see what works best for you and your children. Take notes on the features you like, how it fits, what you do not like, etc. Do the same with the bike trailer or any other necessities you find yourself needing.  Push the kid(s) around the store. Try to see how the kids fit in the trailer with helmets on.  Is there enough storage area, do the kids have enough room? Again, take notes. If money is not a problem or if there is a remarkable sale going on and you want to support that store, then go ahead, make your purchase.  On the other hand, if you have a smart phone or want to save a bit of money, check out eBay, Craigslist, Bookoo, etc. Take your notes and go home. Find a used product at a more affordable price. Many times children outgrow these tools before the family uses them a handful of times, so you can find good products in like new condition.

The products I mentioned are just items my family finds useful. We are not associated with any of these companies or web sites, nor do we get any monetary gain from sharing our opinions on these products. They are just that, opinions, take them for what they are worth. Children are surely a blessing. Consider them and their needs when preparing your supplies.