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A Young brown-haired woman leans her head out of a car window while holding a hand to her mouth with a pained expression

Photo: metamorworks (Shutterstock)

We all have a few less than fond memories of the worst containers we have ever been forced to barf into. As a kid, my parents would sometimes remember to bring a sick bucket on road trips. But sometimes there was no bucket on hand, and I remember hurriedly being handed a grocery bag anytime I said I was feeling queasy. The first thing I would do was look to see if there was a hole in the bottom of the bag. There usually was.

Now that I’m the parent, I will admit to being frequently underprepared. My kids aren’t usually barfers, which means that I never have a bucket when I need one. But I just discovered a life-changing fact: You can buy hospital style emesis bags (like these) from Amazon or a variety of other sources, including but not limited to medical suppliers.

“Emesis” is, of course, the technical term for blowing chunks. A good emesis bag has a few features that make it excellent at its job, chief among them a rigid circular part at the top. This makes the bag easy to hold onto, even at highway speeds, and easy to aim into. You won’t get vomit on your hands (some are even funnel-shaped), and the attached bags tend to be sturdy and capacious. Best of all, they often can be sealed for mess-free disposal—you just need to twist the bag and tuck the twist under that plastic rim.

Is this too much enthusiasm for a simple barf bag? I don’t think so. The one time I used one of them, I was in labor and had already thrown up in a variety of containers and bags on my way to the hospital. When I checked in, staff plopped me into a wheelchair and handed me a proper emesis bag. Even through the haze of pain, I remember being delighted at how well it did its job. It’s the Cadillac of barf bags.

Now that I know that anybody can buy a 50-pack of the things, I’m strongly considering getting a supply for my car. I have three kids, and we’re planning some summer road trips. You know how those sometimes go.

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