A well-stocked first-aid kit, kept within easy reach, is a must for every home. Having the right supplies ahead of time will help you handle an emergency at a moment's notice. Keep a first-aid kit in your home and one in each car. Also be sure to bring a first-aid kit on family vacations.
You can buy a first aid kit at drugstores or a local Red Cross office, or make one of your own. If you make one, use containers that are roomy, sturdy, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes or containers for storing art supplies are ideal because they're lightweight, have handles, and offer a lot of space and separate sections.
What Should a First-Aid Kit Include?
Put these in each of your first-aid kits:
- an up-to-date first-aid manual
- a list of emergency phone numbers
- sterile gauze pads of different sizes
- adhesive tape
- adhesive bandages (Band-Aids) in several sizes
- elastic bandage
- a splint
- antiseptic wipes
- antibiotic ointment
- antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
- hydrocortisone cream (1%)
- acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- extra prescription medicines (if the family is going on vacation)
- sharp scissors
- safety pins
- disposable instant cold packs
- calamine lotion
- alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
- tooth preservation kit
- plastic non-latex gloves (at least 2 pairs)
- flashlight and extra batteries
- a blanket
- mouthpiece for giving CPR (you can get one from your local Red Cross)
Also keep a blanket stored with your kit.
After you've stocked your first-aid kits:
- Read the first-aid manual so you'll understand how to use what's in your kits. (If your kids are old enough to understand, review the main points with them.) Read the manual from time to time and check to see if it is up to date.
- Store first-aid kits out of children's reach but where adults can easily get them.
- Check the kits regularly. Replace missing items or anything that has expired.
- Make sure babysitters and other caregivers know where the kit is and how to use it.
- Check the flashlight batteries to make sure they work.
- If you're flying, pack the first-aid kit in your checked luggage. Many of the items won't be permitted in carry-on bags.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: 08/01/2018