When we talk about Sanitation in our homes, normally we think of keeping things clean, having running water, and working plumbing. While having a decently clean car may somewhat parallel sanitation in a house, the rest of the concept flies out the window!
Did you miss the first three articles in the series? You can find each of them – Preparing Your Vehicle for Everyday Emergencies, Six Preparedness Systems for Every Vehicle, and Stay Well-Fed and Hydrated Even in an Emergency in Your Vehicle.
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Here’s a scenario. Have you ever been driving down the road while eating a burger (uhuh, I know you’ve done that part, don’t deny it) and a blob of ketchup smears across your face as you take a bite of the juicy (but completely bad for you) burger? Well, the answer to that problem is sanitation!
How about this one. You’re driving along and all of a sudden from the back seat comes the infamous words, “Mom, my stomach is upset.” That statement is immediately followed by an oh-so-unpleasant-sound. Uhuh, sanitation!
Or it’s that time of the year and your allergies are acting up. You sneeze followed by a second sneeze followed by about ten more. You look around in desperation for a tissue, a napkin, or anything (other than your clothes) to take care of your dripping nose? Uhuh Sanitation to the rescue!
So let’s tackle some issues of sanitation in your vehicle.
When I was pregnant and I was the culprit to today when it’s usually the kids, upset stomachs and moving vehicles go hand in hand. Having two things in place will both prevent problems and fix problems that you do have.
We have seatback organizers in our car. I’ve had oh-so-many of them. This one is my favorite by far. The strap won’t rip out of the seatback portion on you like all the others I’ve had.
In the seatback organizer behind the driver’s seat, we keep zippered baggies. I keep gallon-size and quart-size one of the pockets on the organizer. Whenever someone has an upset stomach, we grab one of the baggies and then have it in their laps in case they need them.
In another of the pockets, we keep a container of baby wipes. They are cheaper than “Wet Ones.” If one of our children does happen to empty the contents of their stomach, but they make a little bit of a mess in the process, we have wet ones to clean them up. We also keep a towel in the back of the van in case of an emergency, and this would definitely qualify!
As for prevention of upset stomachs, we also keep a stash of peppermints. The flavor peppermint almost always quiets an upset stomach. I don’t keep these in the seatback organizer though because if I did, they wouldn’t be there. With five kids getting in and out and riding in the van almost every day of the week, they would be gone day one or day two at the very most! I keep these stashed in the back of the van, so they are less likely to get into them.
My family doesn’t eat in the van a lot. If we’re on a long trip and we really don’t have time to stop, we might swing through a fast food place. I guarantee you though that when we do eat in the van, no matter how many napkins we have, there will be a MESS! With two of my children, it probably won’t be a little mess either.
Keeping a stash of baby wipes or a cut in half and smooshed-as-flat-as-possible roll of paper towels in your vehicle is a smart move. The other good thing about baby wipes is that they are amazing at taking stains out of clothes! I learned that one by a happy accident.
Don’t Be Trashy
Finding a way to take care of trash in your vehicle is an important part of sanitation. If you’re tripping over old water bottles or slipping on a granola bar (sounds so much more healthy than a candy bar) wrappers, huh? Having a place to put your trash is rather important.
We keep a small car specific trash can in our van. It keeps things clean and uncluttered. We also keep trashbags, both larger black ones and smaller white ones just in case. Trips may require a bigger trash receptacle, but this works for now.
When we take a long trip, we oftentimes stop every-TWO-hours, and not because of me. While I totally have my traveling woes, I am not the chairman of the itty-bitty-bladder-committee. You’ve heard of the civil war ironclad ship? Yep. I have the ironclad bladder, but not all my family is so lucky.
Every now and again we’ll be traveling down a remote strip of road and we’ll hear from the back, “Mom, I need to use the restroom…..NOW.” I don’t know why their bladder didn’t alert them fifteen minutes ago or why it wasn’t articulated to us if it did. What do you do if you’re out in boonies and the urge strikes? Well, if you’re a guy (even my littlest guy), most times it’s not that big of a problem. Find a tree. But for us ladies, it can be a bigger issue. Without going into huge detail, there is a device that will allow a woman to pee standing up. Many of these are referred to as a female urinal.
But what if nature strikes from the other end. You need to have two things on hand. Remember those zippered bags I talked about? Yea, those. You know what to do with them. You’ll also want to have toilet paper somewhere handy. Please never leave fecal matter anywhere. Animals can (and probably will) eat it, and it will make them sick. As a last ditch effort, if you don’t have a way to contain your waste, dig a hole before you go, and bury it when you’re done. How? We carry a portable shovel in our vehicle.
Aunt Flo Is Visitin’!
I’m sure many of us ladies have regular cycles. I’m pretty stinking regular, but every now and again I get a surprise. Once I got a REAL surprise. I was a whole week early! Having items in a vehicle comes in handy! Make sure that you include these somewhere. I keep these in a backpack in the back of my vehicle.
Stuck Away From Home?
You may think, this will NEVER happen to “me.” Well about seven years ago, on Good Friday, we were at church when we found out that our house had been hit by a tornado. You can read a more detailed version here. We could not get to our house that evening. The police literally wouldn’t let us even though our address was on our driver’s license. Some friends opened up their house to use so we could have a place to sleep that was free.
And this was AWESOME, and we were so thankful! Um, but there was one little problem. We had no ‘unmentionables’ for the next day. We didn’t have anything to comb through our hair or a clean change of clothes. Sanitation for your car should include all of these things. We keep We keep two ‘sanitation bags’ in our backpack that stays in our van.
This is the contents of one of the bags. Besides a baggie of one pair of ‘unmentionables” for each family member, and a baggie of pads and another of tampons, we have a bunch of travel size toiletries including: shampoo, deodorant, lotion, toothpaste, powder, cotton swabs, floss, soap, two different kinds of shoelaces, a washcloth wrapped around an old pair of glasses in case ours gets broken, a pair of fingernail clippers, a mini flashlight, a toothbrush, and a P51 can opener.
If we had had these few items when we were unable to return home one evening, it would have made our lives so much more comfortable.
A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place
So what does being organized have to do with sanitation? A LOT! If your vehicle isn’t organized, you aren’t going to able to find what you need when you need it. You might not be able to contain things like stomach contents that need to be contained in a timely manner. You also might not be able to clean items hands or faces that need to be cleaned if you can’t find your wet wipes or baby wipes.
Having a place for everything is important! Knowing where everything’s place is, is more important.
Find What Works for Your Vehicle
I have Honda CRV. Our other vehicle is a Ford Transit. One is a cross-over. The other is a HUGE van. The two are NOT the same in size or storage capacity. What works for my van does not necessarily work for my CRV.
Around town, we prefer to drive the CRV – for limiting our gas use. But I just can’t take everything in my van and stuff it into the CRV in case of emergency. It won’t work, so I have to pare things down. In the Ford, we keep small (about 9″x18″x8″) totes. under seats and a trunk organizer in the middle of our vehicle (We took out one of the middle seats). While I have three seat back organizers in the van, we don’t have any in the CRV. Find what works for each vehicle and adjust it to fit your needs. Get creative, under seats, glove compartments, storage consoles between seats, Did you know that there are storage devices made to go between the seat and the center console in your vehicle?
What works for your vehicle? Are there only three of your in your family? Maybe you only need one seat back organizer and a small trunk organizer. Are there ten of you? Well, maybe you need two trunk organizers and three or four seatback organizers and two backpacks.
Have a List of Where Things Are
We were out hiking one day, and a child of mine fell and scraped their leg. I brushed the dirt off as best as I could without anything with me on this short hike. When we got back to the van, I went in search of our first aid kit. I couldn’t find it. I mean there are only so many hiding places in a van right? Yea. I stashed it so well I couldn’t find it.
Because of that debacle, I came up with a system. On my phone, which is pretty much always on my person, I have an app called Cozi. It’s a family Calendar and list app. On that app, I created three lists.
(1) Front of the car
This contained subsections of glove compartments and console.
(2) Middle of the car
This contained subsections of “under/behind front seats,” “hidden compartments,” and “Seatback organizers.”
This contained subsections of “trunk organizer,” “backpack,” “Backseat organizer.” and “Misc trunk space.”
Now, I never have to wonder where any given thing is. If I need to find my first aid kit, all I have to do is to open that app and flip through those lists.
What About You?
What are your concerns when it comes to sanitation in your vehicle? Do you feel like you’re properly prepared to deal with sanitation issues? What are your concerns when it comes to keeping people and things cleaned and organized? Do you have any ideas for items that I might have left out? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
You’ve got this, Mama!The post The Prepared Vehicle – Sanitation – Keeping Clean, Uncluttered, and Prepared for Emergencies appeared first on Are You Prepared, Mama?. At Are You Prepared, Mama?, we help preparedness-minded moms - like YOU - gain knowledge, confidence, and experience by providing you with education, practical tools, inspiration and encouragement.