Always Keep These 10 Things In Your Car

Whether you're hitting the highway or heading to school for pickup time, don't leave home without these automotive essentials. We've put together a list of the top gear every mom needs in her car.

Don't leave home without these 10 essentials in your car. No matter how far you drive or what your local climate is like, it pays to keep this gear with you when you're on the road.

Trash bin

Trash bin

Remember those paper towels? You need somewhere to toss them. Keep a small trash bin (Amazon, $9) in your car — small is the key here. You want it to be useful, but you also want to force yourself to empty it frequently. No one wants a banana peel baking in a hot car all day. If your car is overrun with receipts and straw wrappers, a trash bin will be your new best friend.

Maintenance kit

Maintenance kit

You know how to change a flat tire, right? Every mom should have a solid maintenance kit (Walmart, $20) in the car. You should also have flares and reflectors. Practice now if you're not sure how to use the tools in your maintenance kit. You don't want to end up practicing on the side of a busy road — or worse, on the side of an isolated road.

Emergency kit

Emergency kit

Hopefully, you'll never need an emergency kit, but just in case, buy a ready-made kit or put together your own, and make sure the kit is within reach in the cabin of your vehicle. The emergency kit should include a seat-belt cutter, a window-breaker tool (Amazon, $5), a weather radio, a few non-perishable snacks, a flashlight and a foil blanket.

Spare clothes

Spare clothes

Weather, kids and unexpected spills have a way of ruining your day, especially if you don't have a change of clothes on hand. Tuck a change of clothes for you and your young passengers into a fun tote bag (Flip and Tumble, $12), and keep it in the utility area of your trunk.

Change organizer

Change organizer

Loose change is not your friend. Pick up an inexpensive coin organizer (Amazon, $9), so you'll never scramble at a toll or parking meter again. When you keep your change organized, you'll also prevent the dreaded penny-stuck-to-your-cup-holder disaster.

First Aid kit

First-aid kit

A pre-made first-aid kit (American Red Cross, $35) is the easiest way to make sure you have everything you need to deal with minor injuries on the road. Kits are small and well-priced. Purchase one, stick it in your cargo area and enjoy the peace of mind.

Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer

If you ever go shopping, you need hand sanitizer (Target, $24) in your car. Keep a squirt-top container at the ready, so you can sanitize your and your little ones' hands every time you hop in the car after any germ-laden destination.

Device chargers

Device chargers

Don't get stuck in a car line with a dead cell phone battery. Keep a multi-use device charger (Amazon, $30) on hand at all times, so you can keep your phone, tablet and other handheld devices powered up on road trips or extended waits in the car.

address book

Important phone numbers

Don't get stuck scrambling for phone numbers when you need roadside assistance or insurance help. Keep a list of important phone numbers, including emergency contacts, on a laminated card or in a small address book (Amazon, $5) in your glove box.

Tissues or paper towels

Tissues or paper towels

From surprise potty emergencies to dashboard spills, life can throw unwanted liquids at you. Keep auto tissues (Walgreens, $2) or paper towels in your car at all times.

More driving safety

Tricks to defrost your windshield in a hurry
10 Defensive driving tips for rough weather
How to fix your flat tire

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