Family Survival: Let’s not forget the kids

If a disaster should happen, and you have children in your home, who’s survival are you going to think about first?  Your kids, of course.  But does your current survival plan really include your children?  Have you rehearsed your plan and tested your gear?  If not you should.

Family Survival goes beyond teaching your children how to evacuate your house in case of an emergency…..because in some disasters, your house may only be a distant memory and you and your family are forced to bug out with hopefully more than just an emergency blanket.

Here are some ideas on how to think about your kids, through their different life stages, while planning for emergency preparedness.


  1. In this category, we may need to take some advice from the hippies.  Breast feeding and Survival-family-Infant-Carecloth diapering are the way to go should a disaster arise.  Let’s face it, you’re not going to be running to China-Mart to buy formula and pampers, so why not be prepared by utilizing these two methods of baby care in the first place?  A nursing mom can keep her baby going indefinitely in even the most dire situation, as long as she has some access to water and nutrients for herself.  What could be better preparedness than that?
  2. Another essential infant survival tool to invest in, is a good baby carrier or sling.  In the event that you have to move somewhere on foot, this is an absolutely must.  Additionally, they also work well for sleeping, as most infants will sleep wonderfully in a sling, and when disaster arises the last thing we are going to be carrying around is a pack n’ play.  Some of the best slings that I’ve seen are the ERGOBaby carrier, and the Moby Wrap.  Both of these allow you to carry an infant for hours without strain on your back.  While the Moby Wrap is ideal in that it is ultra lightweight, compact, and portable; the ERGObaby carrier seems more sturdy and can hold children up to 40 pounds by manufacturer recommendation.  In fact, on the FAQ section on their website, it says it has been tested up to 90 pounds (apparently you can carry your teenagers around in this one as well)


  1. Clothes and Shelter: Do you have items for your young children packed in your bug out bag and your car emergency kit?  You should, because most likely your child or children will not be able to carry their own emergency kits.  If they don’t make sleeping bags small enough for your little one, try sleep sacks, they go up to toddler sizes.  What about all weather gear?  Think extremities – hands, feet and head.  Your child’s light-up Elmo tennis shoes simply aren’t going to do the trick in the event of TEOTWAWKI.  Look for some sturdy all weather boots or shoes (Keen, Merrell, or Vasque).  Also think about a few good pairs of warm socks (Smart Wool) as well as good gloves and a hat.  Also make sure you have a tent or shelter that fits your whole family, not just your one man Rambo tent.  Always plan like TEOTWAWKI or SHTF will happen in the worst possible weather.
  2. Food: Even in a disaster situation, your kids might be picky.  Yes, when they get hungry enough, Survival Family - Don't Forget the kidsthey will eat whatever you have, but you might be worried about their nutritional needs.  That’s why your survival gear should include supplements & vitamins that are also safe for your children.  Raw Source Organics supplements are made solely from organic fruits and veggies, so they are perfectly safe for even the youngest child.  If your child is too little to swallow a capsule, simply open the capsule and sprinkle the powder in food or liquid.  Like I said, when they are hungry enough, they will surely eat it.  Also remember Murphy’s Laws of TEOTWAWKI – “Food & Water, you still don’t have enough.”
  3. Medicine: Young children are a lot more susceptible to getting sick than adults, so we need to be prepared for this.  On this topic, I am going to borrow two ideas from THE SURVIVAL MOM blog.  The first is in regards to giving adult medication to children in the event that children’s meds are nowhere to be found.  The Survival Mom writes about this topic HERE and she cites the following chart with regards to dosages:  Print off this chart now so that you have it when you need it.The second great tip from this same blog is regarding an easy remedy for diarrhea, which is common in young children, and simply involves a solution of sugar and salt that, when added to water, effectively re-hydrates the body after a loss of fluids from diarrhea.  Read her tips and get the formula here:
  4. Rehearse – It is hard to rehearse for TEOTWAWKI or a natural disaster with young kids but you can come close with a camping trip.  You first choice will always be “bugging in” or staying home with small children, but like we said earlier, that may not be possible and you might be forced to bug out.  Go on an overnight camping trip with your emergency survival kit / bug out bag and what you can pack in the car in five minutes or less.  While this might not be the perfect rehearsal for emergency survival, it will give you an idea of things you are missing for you and your family.  Plus it will be a nice enjoyable time in the woods with your family.


  1. While you might think you don’t need to do as much to prepare your older children for Survival Family Bug Out surviving a disaster, this is simply not true.  Survival might not be something they’ve ever thought about, so your first job is to get them thinking about it.  Instead of packing a bug out bag for them, help them pack one for themselves.  Explain to them what they need in it and why.  Make sure not to instill fear in them while doing so, because this won’t help.  Instead, by talking with them sensitively and realistically about possible disasters and helping them prepare themselves, you can give your children a sense of power and also instill valuable lifelong lesson that they might someday pass on to their own families.
  2. GET THEM OUTDOORS.  Exposing children to nature is one of the best ways to teach them about survival, in a natural and fun way.  Get them off the couch and away from the video games.  Here are some ideas for what to do instead: Take them hiking or camping, Teach them how to garden, fish or hunt,  Show them how to start a fire (once they are mature enough to handle it), Get them involved in Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, Sign up for a local survival or emergency preparedness course, Build a “Lean To” shelter or a snow shelter.

Most importantly, make it fun, and this way they will learn skills that they can use not only in a Boy Scouts Survival Training Putting Up a Tentdisaster, but for their whole lives.  A great book to read about the importance of exposing children to nature is the following:  Last Child in the Woods:  Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.  You can find the book here:

While we all hate to think about anything bad ever happening to our children, we need to prepare ourselves so that if something bad does happen, we can rest easy knowing that we have done everything we can to keep them safe.  We hope these tips will help you to find a starting point for thinking about survival preparedness for your own Survival Family.

One great book to get you thinking about your family’s survival is “Making the Best of Basics” by James Talmage Stevens

Photo credits:
Brady Bunch


Joel Jefferson
Written by Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here. Read more of Joel's articles.

31 thoughts on “Family Survival: Let’s not forget the kids”

  1. Great article. I keep my family's diaper bag fully stocked at all times with diapers, wipes, burp cloths, extra blankets, extra clothes (onesies, socks, hats, pants, shirts), desitin, shampoo, body wash, baby lotion, all the meds (mylicon, ibuprofen, teething gel, teething tablets), hand sanitizer, nail clippers, extra pacifier, snacks, plastic bags, and tampons. Always replace what you used when you get back home. I think of it as my baby's BoB. We are ready to grab and go.
    A carrier is a must and you can definitely find cheaper ones than the ergobaby that will work fine. Vitamins are a great idea also because childrens bodies can't store vitamins like an adults can. I need to add some to my diaper bag.
    TEOTWAWKI and SHTF situations are just one more reason breastfeeding is so much better than formula. However, a high stress situation could cause mom not to produce as much milk or no milk at all. Having formula on hand is certainly not a bad idea because "food, you still don't have enough".

  2. A pregnant or breastfeeding mother needs to increase her caloric intake by 500 calories a day (There are variations in the caloric increase between the trimesters of pregnancy from 300 to 500 but 500 is a good target to aim for.) to properly supply the needed calories for her fetus or infant/baby to properly develop. *It will also be important to increase the mother’s caloric intake due to increases in day to day activity as well as the requirements for the child. More important than just caloric intake are the proper vitamins, minerals and nutrients required for proper development. Folic Acid is a key ingredient in Prenatal Vitamins and important in preventing neural tube defects (without getting technical it causes damage to the developing brain and spinal cord) in the developing fetus. Natural sources for folic acid are green leafy vegetables, beans, and yeast. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends a daily folic acid intake of 0.4 mg/day for women of childbearing age.

    • Actually many doctors and midwives that care about their patients know that most women don’t need to consume any more calories than they already do. As most women want to lose weight after child birth, those calories are not necessary unless you are a woman who drops weight quickly and needs to sustain her milk supply. You should be more concerned about what you put in your body versus how much. And on the issue of folic acid….most bodies cannot absorb the synthetic versions of folic acid and can create more issues than good. Consuming the natural state of folate is the way to go. Avoid synthetic or processed anything in general, especially when pregnant or breastfeeding. That includes your cleaning products and personal care products as many of them contain chemicals that are carcinogens and hormone disrupters, and those are just the tested ones!!

  3. Something I don't think that people are taking into consideration on this subject; ONE, they grow, and; TWO, you are going to run out of disposable diapers REALLY fast. Now, lets look at these two topics.
    We will take the latter first, that of the diaper problem. As I see it, and a father of four, disposables are not going to do the job. Try and calculate how many diapers, and in what sizes, you will need for each child from birth to the age of potty training. I'm not sure how many that would be but I remember it being a bunch. Which brings up two major problems in my book, that of storage, and of disposal. I can see a whole mount of diaper boxes and a larger one of dirty ones.
    The only valid option that I fore see is to go back to pure cotton diapers…and don't forget the diaper pins. You will have to have enough diapers on hand to get you from one wash day to the next, plus replacements for those that get worn out. In fact a bolt or two of cotton cloth would probably be an excellent idea for your long term storage. Other then cotton cloth and diaper pins you will need a diaper pail – it holds the dirty diapers until wash day – and extra bleach, both for putting in the diaper pail as well as using in washing the soiled diapers.
    As for the first item I mentioned it stands to reason that kids will grow and more importantly, grow out of their clothing, shoes, and everything else they have. You are going to have to compensate for this some how and figure on how much you are going to have to store for clothing little Junior. I would think that someone might figure on four or five general clothing and shoe sizes and then hand down from one child to the other. The other option would be to have some more bolts of material on hand – plus either a non-electric sewing machine or a lot of sewing needles – and the knowledge of how to produce clothing for your family. Shoes how ever will be problematic.

    • Great points all around on the cloth diapering question. There are many cost effective options for CDing. We used “Indian” prefolds, unbleached. Ebay, really cheap. They are the ones that are square and fold onto the baby. The “traditional” style, if you will. The Indian prefolds quilt up nicely, are soft and very absorbent. There are many different cover options, one of which is wool (breathes and is not hot despite what one might initially think. Think Icebreaker’s merino wool), which we used and really loved. The care for wool might be difficult in a survival situation with lanolization, so one of the plastic-y types might be a better option, although I don’t know how well they would breathe. The sun gets rid of stains very efficiently. One very nice substitution for pins (which can get lost or poke parent or baby) would be snappi’s. They are an elastic-style “T” shaped band that has little teeth on each end to hold the diaper on ace-bandage style. They’re lightweight, you only need one and they can be put on very quickly with no chance of stabbing yourself. They also allow you to adjust the snuggness in a way that diaper pins do not. Just my 2 cents.

  4. This a great topic! I have 2 boys 3-5 and I am working our BOB and also BOCamper. They are to young to go very far in a bug-out situation by foot and niether is my wife. SO we are working on a Bug-in plan as well. Beside lack of medicine that might be available, clothes are a big concern as well. As the boys grow clothing may be hard to come by or cloth as well. We are saving a couple of boxes of the families old clothes that we would normaly donate so we will have some cloth to sew with, patch ect. We are also going to purchase more cloth to have in case it is not readly available. We may also start shopping at used clothing stores to buy coats, shoes, and misc that they can grow into as well.

  5. i don't have kids, so i leave it to the baby daddies for some valuable advice. still, on a side note, has anyone considered training bob, jr. to be like rambo or maybe chuck norris? 🙂

    • The movie kickass demonstrates that ideal when a man brings his daughter up to be a mini-rambo minus the roids. Instead of dollies, she wants high tech machine guns.

    • Both of my boys learned Pugil sticks at a very young age. They loved it and had fun really had no clue what they where learning just having fun with dad. Now with the basics set in stone. As they grow I've started teaching them combatives and My beloved hand to hand combat system from the old days. At 11 and 6 they are very capable children. My 11 yr old is hell with a stick. I'm confident he could fend off the average unarmed adult with nothing more than a stick. I'm tenth generation US military we've been here since 1630. I take pride in teaching the next generation of troopers be they my own or yours.

  6. My child spent thre yrs in girlscouts and learned nothing of use in a shift siruation mostly about recycling and selling cookies, might just be the local leadership but I suggest teaching them yourself can’t comment on boyscouts

  7. Archery equipment is good and can be quite effective for food gathering. One thing to remember is that you have to get ALOT closer to harvest game. I started my kids with air soft to teach gun safety. I didn't have that luxory growing up, my Dad let me bloody my nose with a 410 (from recoil) and then moved me down to a 22 to actually learn to shoot. I guess I'm from a family that Jeff Foxworthy talks about, "let him pull the TV off the stand, he'll learn". Slingshots are also a very effective tool for small game.
    I would assume that when your children are threatened, you'd be able to neutralize the threat to their life. Nobody wants to kill another human, at least nobody sane, but as anyone who wears or has worn a uniform will tell you, you do what needs done to protect your family/nation/civilian population.

  8. I have 4 kids ranging from 6 months to 8 yrs old and I cannot imagine my ohana Bugging Out and having to take to the mountains though that is my last ditch effort if all else fails and I cannot stay Bugged in ………

    Can the end of the world not end for another 3 yrs ??? Hahaha

    • I second that but would like 5 years instead of 3 just to get my youngest (currently 2yo) able to follow instructions a bit better.
      I dread the idea of a long hike with either of my boys right now.

  9. Im 11 years old (im really not kidding you at all) and i have a 9 year old brother. Scouts helps alot so parents get your kids involved in that kind of stuff. Also have them know your bug out plan as well. It might help in the future. Let them help with the plan (not that you have to use there ideas though). And let them help plan out there own B.O.B. as they will be the ones to carry it.

    Ideas for there kit may include (this is stuff from my pack)

    -Bathromm articals (tooth brosh,toothpaste,comb,mirrior,deoutarint,lotion,mouthwash)

    – (depending on age) Leathermen and/or lockblade knife



    -Waterpurifacation tablets

    -Water bottle

    -2 (or more) LED flashlights

    -Good watch

    -Good compas

    -There own personallized med kit

    Well I hope this helped,
    Person out!

  10. Remember no matter how well you plan, or how good you pack. Things.will change every day always be able to adapt. Belts are one item that I have several of, the pants might be a little big but a good belt will wait for my boys to grow.

  11. Anyone hear have to deal with a partner or friends who thinks the idea of preparing for the inevitable and impending global catastrophy is nuts? I have found a few ways around this. My friends thought I was nuts or that I just watched Red Dawn too many times. (I did.) One thing to remember – Camping is FUN, and gives you plenty of time to familliarize yourself with your equipment. I know a guy who has everything I would like to have but never uses it. His wife wouldn't be so judgemental if he took his gear out for a couple weekend adventures, but he's got at least $5000 in gear he has never used or even tested. That is crazy!!!! My friends no longer give me crap about being over prepared because I have taken up the sport of unplanned camping trips. I just call them and tell them I'm going camping and they get jealous. I just grab my BOB hop in the truck and am off in ten minutes. My dad preped me through the Boy Scouts.

  12. The Moby wrap is not a good idea. Most baby carrier sites say it is too stretchy. Apparently, there have been children to fall out of them. Google it.

  13. I would also like to add you can have them pick one toy or book that would fit in there bag. Kids get bored or could help distract them from whats going on even if its for a few min.

  14. I prefer the Balboa sling. It is comfy and my baby loves it. You can get it on Amazon, however, I also keep an umbrella stroller in my car. If you don't already use some kind of carrier though, don't expect your kid to go in it during a crisis.

    You can buy formula that has a pop top — you just attach a nipple (hospitals use them). This is for worst case scenario of course — no mother available. Regarding cloth diapers, yes, they are good for long term, but if you are bugging out, you may want the disposable diapers since you don't have to wash them. And, remember to keep a supply of diapers (cloth and/or disposable) at your bug out location.

    Other items to consider for baby: Pedialyte (prevents dehydration), a sun hat and identification for your child in the event you are not present or are unable to communicate.

    I'd like to see more articles or discussion that address the needs of pregnant women and babies.

  15. My wife and I homeschool our two oldest kids (7 and 6). One day part of their lesson plan was to discuss possible emergencies, things to do in case of an emergency and different emergency supplies need for each type of emergency. We're still working on filling out our BOB, but the lesson was invalualbe for us and the kids.

    Several weeks after we had this lesson, we had a power outage. My son immediately thought of our lists, grabbed the notebook and read off everything to do (and not do) in case of an outage. Fortunately it only lasted 6 hours, but if it had gone through the night and we weren't prepared, things could have been significantly worse.

  16. It should go without saying that any survival or emergency kit should include supplies for your kids. The most important things here would be food, water, medicines, and a considerable amount of clothes. Kids do tend to need a new change of clothes more than us adults do.

  17. The basic point here is, like any disaster kit, stock up on as much as you can. When it's babies and young kids we're talking about, that means a whole lot of specialized supplies – from diapers and milk to clothes and even some toys.

  18. I like this website because always I find here extreme solution for survival situation. For kids proper safety and nurture whatever ways suggested here is good. Thanks for allocation.

  19. Something i would like to see more info about… unfortunately there are moms that do not produce or cannot keep there breast milk coming in. I am one of these moms. I just checked the formula container and it has a 3 year shelf life, but its a limited item. Any ideas on safe alternatives for newborns especially?


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