For many nannies, trips to the zoo, farm, museum, or other age-appropriate venues are part of their weekly adventures with the children they watch. Being prepared for a long day away from home can make the difference between having a fun or frustrating time.
Before heading out, use the following checklist to be sure you are prepared.
- Diapers. A rule of thumb is to pack two for each hour you’re away.
- A package of resealable wet wipes. Forget the small plastic containers that hold a handful of wipes. If you’re heading out for the day you’ll want an entire package of them. From wiping bottoms to wiping hands, faces, and sticky surfaces, you can never have enough wipes.
- Diaper cream. It’s always essential to have a full supply on hand to protect her bottom before leaving the house. This is especially true if your charge may be sitting in a diaper for longer than usual (due to traffic or a long ride), which could lead to a rash.
- Changing pad. When heading to public areas with highly trafficked restrooms, disposable changing pads come in handy.
- Change of clothing. Leave a spare set of clothing in your car as well as in your diaper bag.
- Bibs. If you have a drooler then you’ll want a few extra bibs for drooling and a few for eating.
- Burp cloth. One or two burps cloths should be enough to get you through the day. New, prewashed cloth diapers make great burp cloths.
- Formula or breast milk. Consider using a divided container that holds premeasured formula powder, and always bring twice what you think you’ll need. For breast milk, be sure to store in an insulated pouch or sleeve and use prior to its expected expiration.
- Bottles. Three to four bottles, depending on how much and how often baby eats, should be sufficient. Bottles with disposable liners are great for day trips. Pack one or two bottles, along with several nipples and liners, to save space.
- Bottled water. Bring enough bottled water for mixing formula and for drinking, plus some.
- Baby food. Pack double what you think you’ll need. If you plan to be away only for lunch, pack dinner along with it just in case.
- Snacks. An ample amount of assorted snacks is necessary for daytrips. Divide snacks into single servings using fabric or plastic Ziploc bags prior to heading out.
- Lunch. If you’ll be away for lunch, even if you plan on purchasing it on site, pack some essentials. Yogurt, string cheese, and berries will hold your child over or compliment what’s available on location.
- Plastic bag. A plastic grocery bag that can be used for trash, dirty diapers, or dirty clothes will likely come in handy.
- Small toys. Small, handheld, age-appropriate toys and books are great for long car rides, and can serve as a useful distraction.
- Cooler or insulated bag. Even if you don’t bring it in with you to where you’re going, having a cooler stacked with your perishables can come in handy. Even if it’s in the car, you can have fairly easy access to it.
- Stroller. For daytrips choose the high-end umbrella stroller over the full-size travel system. Be sure the stroller you choose can recline for naptime, has a five point harness, and provides ample comfort.
- Baby carrier. If you tend to carry your charge you’ll want to bring along your carrier, sling, wrap, or whatever else she’s accustomed to being in.
- Blanket. From blocking out the sun to warming her up should she become cold, a blanket comes in handy when away from home.
- Lovey. If your charge has a lovey and you typically bring it wherever you go, don’t forget it.
- Sunscreen and hat. If you’ll be outdoors, sunscreen and a hat can prevent your charge from being sunburned, even on a cloudy day.
- Emergency contact information. Be sure to carry an In Case of Emergency card complete with the child’s name and any essential information, as well as the parent’s contact information. You may also wish to include an emergency number for yourself and to indicate that you’re not the parent.
- Authorization to treat a minor. If an accident happens you’ll want to ensure your charge receives prompt care. Having an Authorization to Treat form can guarantee that your charge is taken care of if the parents are unavailable by phone.
- Cell phone. You should always carry a fully charged cell phone when you head out for the day. Bringing a car charger is also a smart idea.
- Money. In addition to a major credit card, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash on you should you run into a situation where plastic isn’t accepted.
- Hand sanitizer. When you’re out and about you may not have immediate access to a sink and water. In those cases, hand sanitizer comes in handy.
- Extra pacifiers. If your charge uses a pacifier, be sure to have several on hand in case one gets dirty or lost.
- Mini first aid kit. From band-aids to antiseptic wipes and ointment, it’s always a good idea to have a basic first-aid kit with you.
- Any prescription medications. If your charge is on any prescription medication you’ll want to be sure to take those, and their appropriate measuring devices, along with you. Be sure to store as directed and follow dosing instructions carefully.
When heading out for the day it’s always better to be over prepared than under prepared. If the items in the list seem like too much to carry you may want to consider packing two bags and leaving one in the car. Heading to the parking lot is a lot quicker than heading home, should you have a need for something.
P.S. This post was proposed to me for publication by Debbie Denard, I'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information: