Recently, I rummaged through my car's glove box looking for something or other. I realized with a shock that almost everything in there was out of date: expired medicines, ancient school directories, maps so old that major freeways have been built since.
No bueno! So I went to my local chain drugstore and corrected the situation.
Here's what's in my glove box now.
Pain killers, just 12 tablets per box (because space is at a premium):
Stuff for calming upset tummies (chewable versions, so water isn't needed):
Antibacterial wipes and a small package of adhesive bandages for cuts or scrapes:
Nutrient-packed protein bars to stave off Junk Food Mania when I'm forced to grocery-shop on an empty stomach. Also, these are part of my car's emergency-preparedness supplies:
Several plastic bottles of water (I use a stainless-steel Kleen Kanteen for my normal on-the-go sipping; these are for emergencies):
Regular ol' wipes for cleaning up skin, and spot-treatment wipes for stains on clothing:
Dramamine for car-sick passengers (this happens less as my children have grown older), and some zinc lozenges to take at the first sign of a cold:
A tire-pressure gauge and pocket flashlight:
A bumper-sticker-sized emergency sign (available through your local Automobile Club) and a disposable camera to take pictures for your insurance company, should you have a car accident (Heaven forbid!)
I know y'all are thinking, "Yeah, but I'd just use my cell phone to take some pictures." Well, I would, too, but cell phones go dead if you forgot to recharge them overnight. Also, in a city-wide emergency, cell phone service can die. So I always make sure to have a disposable just in case:
A small, easy-to-understand map of your area. (Again, map services on your cell phone or BlackBerry will be unavailable in case of an emergency, and you may need the ol' paper kind to make your way home):
Maps like this are another nifty little tool available through your local Auto Club:
Some things in your glove box will be tailored to your age, the age of your children (if any), and what part of the country you live in. When my kids were little, there was always a pacifier in the glove box to avert a meltdown.
Now, our meltdowns tend to be driven by the gorgeous Southern California sun. So I make sure to carry some non-leaky type of sunblock:
and an extra pair of inexpensive sunglasses. And a lint roller, because living with three dogs virtually guarantees I will have dog hair on me at all times:
One last thing: Usually I have a space blanket in the glove box. I didn't realize until I got home from the drugstore that mine was missing. They are a great item to keep in the car. You can buy them at most large drugstores and at wilderness and outdoor-adventure stores. Extremely lightweight, the silvery blankets come in a little box or pouch all folded up, so they take up very little space.
These little blankets can really be a lifesaver if you're stranded in the cold, or if you need to keep an accident victim warm until the paramedics arrive. (Yikes!) My daughter used hers to keep a fellow camp counselor warm when one of their kids forgot to bring a sleeping bag on an overnight trip.
Plus, you'll be cozy if you visit Stonehenge on a cold day:
image from vintagedept
So, I'll add "space blanket" to my shopping list for the next drugstore run.
One last thing (I learned this one on the "Oprah" show):
It's important to keep water and nutrient-rich food in your glove box, not just in the trunk or the back of the car. Some car-accident victims find themselves trapped in their seats, unable to get out or maneuver around inside their car. On a lonely road, it might be hours--I hope not!--before anybody even passes by to notice you've crashed. If this ever happens to you (Heaven forbid!), you want to have food and water within reach to sustain you until help comes.
So, I say all this not to freak you out, but to help us all summon the Inner Boy or Girl Scout within and to "Be Prepared."
Plus, I don't want to lose a single "Teapots" reader, ever. You are all too important to us here at T&P!