How to Pack a Diaper Bag for a Toddler

The best way to keep up with your busy, curious (aka mischievous) toddler is to stay one step ahead. Don’t leave home without these on-the-go essentials.
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profile picture of Bonnie Vengrow
Contributing Writer
March 2, 2017
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Every day:

Diapers. Pack a diaper for every couple of hours you plan to be out — and always one or two extra. (Hey, you never know.)

Wipes. Look for ones that come in a resealable pack, or store them in a plastic sandwich bag to keep them moist.

Diaper cream. Travel-size tubes take up less space.

Hand sanitizer. Stick to ones with an alcohol-free formula — it’s safer for toddlers who like to jam their fingers in their mouths.

Changing pad or blanket. Get a bigger one, since your kid has probably outgrown the one that came with the diaper bag.

Disposable or washable placemats. Lay one on top of a restaurant table for a germ-free eating surface.

Sunscreen. Use it year-round. We recommend a chemical-free sunscreen made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide with an SPF of 15 or higher.

Burp cloth. Have one or two at the ready for cleaning up accidents.

Sippy cup. Go with the spill-proof kind that won’t leak when turned upside down. Trust us.

Snacks. You’ll be happy to have a few on hand for a boost of energy or to use as a bargaining chip during a meltdown. Goldfish crackers, string cheese, apple slices and Cheerios are easy to pack and won’t make a mess.

Toys. If it stows away easily and makes your toddler smile, bring it. Think small cars, a doll, picture books or sidewalk chalk in a zippered plastic bag. (Nothing with lots of easy-to-lose pieces, like blocks or puzzles!)

Plastic bags. Use them to store everything from dirty diapers to wet clothes.

Bib. Bring a plastic or washable one — the easier to clean, the better.

Pacifiers (if you use them). Store in a clean, resealable bag.

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If you’re traveling:

Diapers. Pack 5 to 7 diapers per day, plus two overnight diapers for every night you’re away. Or to save space, pack enough for 48 hours and buy more when you get to your destination.

First aid kit. You don’t need the whole medicine cabinet — just essentials like pain- and fever-reducing medications, Benadryl, bandages, antibacterial cream and a thermometer.

Blanket. This multitasker can keep your kid warm on a drafty plane or sop up her spills.

Plastic dishes and utensils. A couple of sets is plenty.

Laundry detergent. Many travel-size detergents are small enough to carry on a flight.

Socket protectors. They’re an easy way to baby-proof on the road.

Change of clothes. And don’t forget an extra pair of socks.

A few surprises. A new toy or book can help defuse a major meltdown or keep your child entertained during a long layover.

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