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Sick Bin: Get organized and prepared… ahead of time

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In our house we have a First Aid kit, Earthquake Kit and locked cabinets full of medicine and emergency needs for our kids. What I didn’t realize we needed was a Sick Bin. Now before you go and call me crazy/too cautious/too organized, think of the times when your child unexpectedly vomited all over you, your furniture, bed, carpet and bathroom. With my kids, it comes out of nowhere every time.


A few weeks ago I ran around the house at 10pm gathering everything I needed to clean up the first mess and prepare for the messes to come. The next morning – as I sat and drank 10 cups of coffee – I came up with the idea to make a bin.

sick bin

What is a sick bin?

A sick bin is a bin full of items that you may or may not need when your child unexpectedly falls ill anytime of the day – especially in the middle of the night.

What’s in a sick bin?

Your sick bin can contain anything you think you may need or want to contain, clean and soothe your child (and yourself).

Here are some things I put in our sick bin.

  • Washable wetbag: We have multiple large Bummis wetbags laying around the house for cloth diapers. These washable bags are also great for beach days, pool days and for containing nasty messes compliments of sick kids — until you can wash everything the next day.
  • Disposable 13-gallon trash bag: These are for the things you want to contain and throw away immediately.
  • Diapers and Pull Ups: In case it comes out both ends.
  • Plastic diaper covers: Again, in case it comes out both ends.
  • Baby wipes: The Magic Eraser equivalent for a child’s body.
  • Washcloths: For cool compresses on hot faces and cleaning up messes.
  • Thermometer: Self-explanatory.
  • Nightlight: This was the first thing I put in our sick bin. A nightlight with a sensor! This helped lead the way to the bathroom and provided just enough light while in the bathroom.
  • Carpet cleaner: Self-explanatory.
  • Lysol wipes: Again, self-explanatory.
  • Electrolyte mix: This is more to have it on hand once the vomiting has stopped – since you shouldn’t really give your child liquids until then anyway.
  • Kleenex: I always have Kleenex handy.
  • Pillowcase: To quickly change a dirty pillow or to cover a new pillow.
  • Spare lovey blanket: My son immediately soiled his lovey but can’t sleep without one.
  • Waterproof bed pads: Lifesavers for sick kids and parents.
  • Burp cloths: I love the Gerber flat cloth diapers! They are great for cleaning the carpet, accompanying a bowl on the way to the bathroom and for those catch you by surprise moments.

I suppose you could put a mixing bowl in your sick bin if you want to be super prepared… Me? I plan to dump the contents and just use the actual bin if needed.

Tip: Line the pathway to the bathroom with old towels to minimize carpet mess and stains.

Where do you keep your sick bin?

I keep ours in the upstairs linen closet, right next to the extra towels. That way, when we are faced with a surprise (read: child gagging while running to our bedside instead of running towards the bathroom), everything we need is in one easy to remember and easy to get to location. Our upstairs linen closet is also the central most location between bathrooms and bedrooms.

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Monday 5th of March 2012

Great idea! Putting one together this morning and will add the spare t'shirt. I like to line a pail with a plastic garbage bag to put beside their bed. There never seems to be enough time to run to the bathroom. The boys beds are also always made up with two sheets and waterproof mattress pads, layered. This way if one layer is wet or messy just remove the sheet and pad and they can go right back to sleep without the fuss of making up a bed. It's ideal for the middle of the night or with bunk beds!


Sunday 4th of March 2012

Great ideas!


Sunday 4th of March 2012

Good idea! You might also include hair elastics and (or) cloth headbands if you have girls with long hair.... there's nothing quite like the JOY of finding throw up in your daughter's hair (YUCK!).... Also, grocery store plastic bags work great for the smaller quick contain and throw away jobs (they also make decent impromptu hand covers if you're squeamish about touching throw up and don't have gloves!). :)


Sunday 4th of March 2012

**spare t-shirt for yourself so you can change after being vomited on without leaving the bed/cribside of a child moaning for nothing but mama.

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