Sports Parent Car Essentials

If you have a kid in any kind of sport, you know what it's like: long practices, suddenly changing weather and unexpected accidents can put a big damper on an evening if you aren't equipped. Below, I have listed some things you may need at one time or another to help you be the Alpha Mom you always wanted to be. Approach it from the Boyscout point-of-view and always be prepared. Grab an old backpack and load it up!

- Towels. I recommend at least one towel (bath or beach-sized is preferable) per person in your family. Roll them up and tuck under a seat. Use them to wipe off wet bleachers, muddy or wet kids, as a makeshift blanket or as a seat cushion. I'm sure you will find many other uses as well. I like to cover take-out bags with a folded towel to help keep food warm on the way home!

- First Aid Kit. I recommend you buy a starter kit from a discount store and refill as needed. You can also start with a plastic shoe box and fill it yourself. Whichever you choose, I highly suggest including: Instant cold packs (the kind you smash and shake to get cold), bandages (medium and large), alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment and tweezers. Gauze, tape and popsicle sticks or tongue depressors (for use as splints) can also come in handy.

- Spare jackets. You can use hand-me-downs, thrift store finds, old hoodies or whatever. You never know when you'll forget a jacket or when an unexpected cold-front will move in. You can never have enough layers around. These are also handy when you stay longer than expected at a cookout.

- Blanket. At least one, maybe two. Blankets, like towels, can serve many purposes. Spread one on the ground for a pic-nic or for toddlers to play, cover up in the cold, cover the seat in your car, fold and place on bleachers to reserve seats or provide some cushioning. A blanket can also provide shade if needed.

- Trash Bags. I'm talking the large, leaf-bagging style. If you've ever taken a muddy child home from football or soccer, you will LOVE this idea! Take out a trash bag, make your child STAND IN THE BAG inside your vehicle. Pull the bag up around the child and your car seats will be saved. You can also throw their muddy equipment in a bag. If you have a whole roll of bags, you will become an instant hero with the other parents. :o) These also make great rain ponchos in a pinch.

- Bottled Water. I know we are all trying to go green, so if you want to bottle your own water at home, feel free. I keep at least a couple of bottles of water in my car because we often get half-way to practice when someone realizes they have forgotten the bottle I handed them just before we walked out the door. We've also had really hot days when we needed more water that we first brought.

- Umbrella. A large one. I like my golf umbrella, but I am seriously thinking about getting a beach umbrella, too. I am not exactly what you'd call a "bronze goddess" and a beach umbrella would be perfect for those late July, all day baseball tournaments in the blazing 90+ degree heat.

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