CHICAGO, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- If your idea of emergency preparedness includes a hot cup of coffee and a scone, pay attention. Winter is just around the corner, and the mothers at Mother Proof have some suggestions for making sure you and your children are prepared for a roadside emergency. "Every winter there's a tragic story on the news about someone getting lost or stuck in their vehicle for hours or even days," said Kristin Varela, chief mother at Mother Proof. "While many people might scoff at the idea of using their car's precious cargo space for a roadside emergency kit, having one could save you a lot of hassle in the long run, and possibly even save your life." Mother Proof suggests motorists carry the following items in their vehicle at all times, along with some extra things to pack for the winter. The Always-Have Kit: -- Bottled water: This is good advice wherever you are, but you should definitely have water in your car at all times. Remember to check the expiration date and replace when necessary. -- Non-perishable food (nuts, dried fruit, granola bars): This will help keep the kids from thinking about being hungry. Again, watch the expiration dates. -- First-aid kit: Another must-have; bandages, antiseptic wipes and some pain reliever are the minimum requirements. This is good for a crazy day at the park as well. -- Blanket: If you need to stay in the car for a while, running the engine might not be an option. The blanket will keep you warm in the winter, but is still a good idea in the summer in case someone goes into shock. -- Flashlight: There are some nifty wind-up types that don't require batteries. If you don't have that kind, make sure to add a couple batteries to this list. You never know if your car's power will work in an emergency; don't assume it will. Replace the batteries every so often so you know they'll work. -- Multi-tool pocket knife: This can come in handy for lots of reasons, not the least of which is opening the so-sealed-you-can't-use-it package of new batteries. -- Road flares/triangle: One of the most dangerous things about being on the side of the road is other cars not being able to see you. Help them out. -- Collapsible shovel: This could help you get unstuck from a variety of spots, not just snow. -- Jumper cables: Someone else may have these, but it's always best to have your own -- and know how to use them. -- Basic auto tool kit: Even if you don't know how to use the tools, having them handy for someone who does is a good idea. Basics for this kit include tire-inflation goop, a wrench, a screwdriver and a hammer. -- Cell phone: Having a charged cell phone for emergencies is a smart idea, especially if you travel with children. Many providers have minimal pre-paid plans that are useful for this purpose. -- Roadside assistance: Services like OnStar and AAA are well worth their price if you experience even one emergency in your car. -- Kid's activity box: This may not seem like an essential, but believe me, if you're stuck in a car for a few hours you'll be glad you have a book or two and a pad of paper to keep the kids occupied. Maybe add a couple unwrapped items from the dollar store, too: Never underestimate the allure of a brand-new $1 toy. For winter, add these items: -- Ice scraper: Even if you normally carry one in your car in the winter, having an extra could save you from that Murphy's Law day when you break your regular one. -- Tire chains/traction device: The chains your dad used are still available, but there are lots of other useful devices that could mean the difference between getting home and having to use the rest of the stuff in your kit. -- Winter boots: It's best for you to stay in your vehicle in most cases, but there may be times when you need to walk around the car or venture slightly farther away. In those cases, your feet will stay dry and happy rather than getting wet and dangerously cold. -- Hats and gloves for as many passengers as your car can carry: As your mother told you, you lose most of your body heat out of the top of your head. Keep that heat in; you may be there for a while. If the idea of making your own kit makes you cringe, there are a couple of pre-made kits aimed at women that come with many of the items Mother Proof recommends. Barbara Kay has a line of tools, and it offers a nifty roadside kit that includes a guide to help you get through an emergency with a level head. The Smart Girl roadside emergency kit includes a few things beyond the basics of my homemade kit -- including chocolate -- and comes in a super-cute lunchbox-like tin. About Mother Proof: Mother Proof(TM) (http://www.motherproof.com) provides online car reviews and information aimed at the fastest-growing segment of automotive consumers: women and mothers. The site was launched in 2004 by Kristin Varela, a young mother of two, when she was in need of a new car and couldn't find information that was important to her and her family. Now part of the Cars.com family, Mother Proof's team of mom-reviewers continues in a never-ending quest for the quintessential mom-mobile, searching for vehicles that make grocery shopping and preschool pickup just a little easier.
SOURCE Mother Proof