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Bugging Out With Children

If you have a family with children, it is not as simple as grabbing your bags and hitting the front door. By the time, you decide the situation warrants bugging out with children then it is possible it is too late. You will always think there is “one more thing I need”. The children will not be ready at a moment’s notice and time will slip away.

Fear is real and it may keep you from bugging out with children or elderly family members. The pack will be too heavy, you are not conditioned, and the children certainly are not. But that said, you can't just leave them behind, can you?

There are many philosophies on the best way to bug out. I have seen everything from underground shelters with all the comforts of home to ditching the wife and kids and heading out. I am going to assume that none of us is ditching our families. Preparing for bugging out when you have children takes extra thought and gear rather than if you are preparing as a single person.

Remember, you are not bugging to the Shangri-La. It will be tough, rugged, and primitive. The point is surviving; not dining on ice cream and sleeping on a pillow-top mattress. There was a time when mommies and daddies did not have wireless video baby monitors and $400 jogging strollers. Your children will be okay. You will be surprised at all the things you do not really need.



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Of course, preparing a 72-hour bug-out bag for children will be different as your kids’ ages vary. If you have an infant, you will have to carry their essentials. Elementary school-aged children will be able to carry a few things, and teenagers should be able to carry their own bug-out pack.

I think it is important to let your children know you are preparing for a potential disaster. You can do this in a calm and cool manner. The last thing you want to do is scare them. An opportune time to talk to them is when something has happened like a hurricane, tornado, or wild fires. You can explain to the children that sometimes when a natural disaster happens, you have to leave your home for a few days. This will help them understand why you are packing their bug-out bags.

Obviously, during a bug-out, your family will have to go without some of their usual comforts. Kids these days are fully unprepared for that. One way you can get them used to roughing it is by going on regular camping, hiking, rafting, or other outdoor trips. While you are out there, you can teach older children survival skills such as building a fire, filtering water, and constructing shelter. To keep the kids active and fit, kick them off the TV and get them outside! Play ball with them, take a bike ride, or go to the park. Anything to keep them moving and exercising.  

Children of every age are going to need a way to stay warm, entertained, and fed. First, and foremost, water is life. Make sure each child has a personal water filtration device like a Lifestraw.

When packing your family’s food provisions, keep your children’s tastes in mind. If you have finicky eaters, try to accommodate their tastes so they will eat. Kids of all ages get grumpy and whiny when they are hungry and tired. In order to keep everyone as comfortable as possible, pack a few comfort foods such as their favorite snacks or candy. Keep plenty of children’s multi vitamins, sunscreen, and bug spray.  A first aid kid and medicine is also important for your bug-out bag. In case of separation, have ID badges (with medical information) for every child and make them wear it.

bugging out with children

In other posts, we will get more specific on the needs of infants and babies, toddlers and school aged pre-teen and teenagers.

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared