A first aid kit is a must in any home or car. Having the right equipment and supplies in a situation where you or your child might be injured can save you from infection or worsening of the injury itself. Whether the ailment is minor or more serious, knowing what to have and what to do can stop the situation from escalating.
First aid kits usually include supplies that can treat sprains, burns, cuts, scrapes, and other minor household injuries. You can buy a complete kit online, or buy the supplies individually and build your own if you prefer. However you decide to put your first aid kit together, you should keep it somewhere safe and out of reach of any young children. If you have older children who know how to use the items in the first aid kit, they should know where it’s stored in case it’s needed.
What to Include – the Basics
While you can customize your first aid kit to accommodate the specific needs and activities of your family, there are some basics that all kits should include:
- Elastic bandages
- Bandage strips in assorted sizes
- Adhesive tape
- Roller gauze
- Non-stick sterile bandages
- Rubber tourniquet
- Eye shields
- Sling or triangular bandage
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Finger Splint
- Medical ice packs
- Non-latex disposable gloves
- Lubricants such as petroleum jelly
- Scissors, tweezers, safety pins
- Hand sanitizer
- Antiseptic ointment
- Sterile saline
- First aid manual
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Surgical mask
What to Include – Medication
Alongside dressings and bandages, you might also want to include medications in your first aid kit. Medications for common ailments are generally a good idea, such as aloe vera, calamine, laxative and anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, antihistamines, cough and cold remedies, and painkillers such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Acetaminophen. You may also want to include aspirin as this can be a lifesaver for adults with chest pain or suspected heart attack.
Please note that if you suspect you or someone around you is having a heart attack or other coronary event, call for emergency medical assistance immediately. Once someone is on their way to you, chewing a regular strength aspirin can help keep blood from clotting. Don’t take aspirin if you’re allergic to it or have existing blood clotting issues. Aspirin should never be given to children.
What to Include – Other Information
Other essential things you might want to keep in your first aid kit include emergency phone numbers, contact information of your family doctor, emergency services information, medical consent forms for each member of the family, the poison helpline, the CDC, medical histories, a flashlight, space blanket, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
Staying Up to Date
Once you have everything in your kit, that’s not the end of it. You should keep an eye on it regularly to make sure nothing is empty or expired, and make sure the medical information and emergency numbers are up to date.