9 Items No Mom Should Leave Home Without

Mom blowing on her son's scraped knee on a basement bench

All moms want to be prepared for every scenario. Pediatrician and mom, Sara Kreckman, MD, UnityPoint Health, gives her advice on what to pack in your purse for those just-in-case incidents. And, she should know. By using what was in her bag, she was prepared to help her son following a shark bite.

9 Must-Haves for a Mom’s Purse

“I’m a purse girl,” Dr. Kreckman says. “I try cleaning it out every three months.”

Dr. Kreckman admits she has a big purse. But, she says it must be big enough to hold these nine items.

  • Wipes. It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, you can always use wipes to clean hands, messy faces and on-the-go spills.
  • Hand sanitizer. Kids touch everything. Period.
  • Aquaphor/Vaseline. It’s great for chapped hands, cheeks, noses, even lips if you can’t find your lip balm.
  • Snacks. Healthy snacks are nice to have when kids start to get whiny and wiggly.
  • Busy items. In addition to snacks, it’s great to have crayons, pens and a small pad of paper or even a few tiny toys, like mini cars or dolls, to manage cranky kids.
  • Medical items. Band-Aids, ibuprofen, antibiotic ointment, Benadryl and gauze all make Dr. Kreckman’s list. She keeps them together in a little tin. She says they are great for the accidental cuts and scrapes that are part of any parent’s life. She adds kids like Band-Aids for everything.
  • Essentials. You know what they are: phone, wallet and keys. Dr. Kreckman says she loves having a light on her phone when her kids drop things in her car, and can’t find them. She always tries to keep a few dollars or coins in her wallet for incidentals.
  • Water bottle. Someone always gets thirsty at an unexpected time.
  • Sun protection. This includes sunscreen and lip balm with SPF, along with sunglasses. These items are especially vital in the summer.

BONUS ITEMS: Superglue and a multifunctional tool.

“Superglue and a multifunctional tool are two things most people probably wouldn’t guess I have in my purse. Both are good for all sorts of stuff,” Dr. Kreckman says.

As you can imagine, several of these items came into use when her son got bit by a shark.

Shark-Bite Experience

Dr. Kreckman says her family was on vacation in the Caribbean, when her 9-year-old son, Henry, got bit by a nurse shark.

“He was just wading in the ocean off the shore with some other kids and another vacationer saw the shark swimming in the water and picked it up to show the kids. Of course, the three-and-a-half foot shark didn’t like that and in the process of being released, it bit Henry in the chest, right through his shirt,” Dr. Kreckman says.

nullThe adult handling the shark carried Henry onto the beach, back to Dr. Kreckman. And, that’s where the items in her purse came in handy.

“I used my gauze, plus we took his shirt off and held pressure with both. The hotel staff came out, and Henry was transported to the medical area to call 911. Responders applied antibiotic ointment and covered the tennis-ball-sized, circular wound with gauze and Band-Aids. I was really glad I had extra gauze, antibiotic ointment and Band-Aids with me on vacation, because we had to keep the wound clean and covered for the next two days. To this day, Henry still has a little scar from the incident,” Dr. Kreckman says.

It’s always best to be prepared, no matter where you are going. Use Dr. Kreckman’s check-list of purse must-have items, so you are able to handle anything—even a shark bite.

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