A well-stocked first-aid kit, kept within easy reach, is a necessity in every home. Having supplies gathered ahead of time will help you handle an emergency at a moment's notice. You should keep one 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 purchase a first aid kit at drugstores or a local Red Cross office, or make one of your own. If you decide to make one, choose containers for your kits that are roomy, durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes or containers for storing art supplies are ideal, since they're lightweight, have handles, and offer a lot of space.
What You'll Need
Include the following in each of your first-aid kits:
- first-aid manual
- sterile gauze pads of different sizes
- adhesive tape
- adhesive bandages in several sizes
- elastic bandage
- a splint
- antiseptic wipes
- antibiotic ointment
- antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
- hydrocortisone cream (1%)
- acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- extra prescription medications (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 administering CPR (can be obtained from your local Red Cross)
- your list of emergency phone numbers
- blanket (stored nearby)
After you've stocked your first-aid kits:
- Read the entire first-aid manual so you'll understand how to use the contents of your kits. (If your kids are old enough to understand, review the manuals with them.)
- Store first-aid kits in places that are out of children's reach but easily accessible for adults.
- Check the kits regularly. Replace missing items or medicines that may have expired.
- Check the flashlight batteries to make sure they work.
- If you're flying, be sure to pack the first-aid kit in your checked luggage. Many of the items won't be permitted in your carry-on bags.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: August 2010
|National SAFE KIDS Campaign The National SAFE KIDS Campaign offers information about car seats, crib safety, fact sheets, and links to other health- and safety-oriented sites.|
|National Safety Council The National Safety Council offers information on first aid, CPR, environmental health, and safety.|
|American Red Cross The American Red Cross helps prepare communities for emergencies and works to keep people safe every day. The website has information on first aid, safety, and more.|
|FEMA Winter Storms and Extreme Cold Information on dealing with severe winter weather, including driving tips and fact sheets.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Poison Control Centers Use this toll-free number to reach any of the United States' 65 local poison control centers - (800) 222-1222 - or visit the website to find the poison control center nearest you.|
|Knowing Your Child's Medical History In an emergency, health care professionals will have many questions about a patient's medical history. It's easy to compile this information now, and it could save critical minutes later.|
|Teaching Your Child How to Use 911 Teaching your child how to use 911 in an emergency could be one of the simplest - and most important - lessons you'll ever share.|
|What You Need to Know in an Emergency In an emergency, it's hard to think clearly about your kids' health information. Here's what important medical information you should have handy, just in case.|
|Medications: Using Them Safely Giving kids medicine safely can be a complicated task. With a little knowledge and a lot of double-checking, you can help treat your child's illness while you prevent dangerous reactions.|
|Getting Help: Know the Numbers The best time to prepare for an emergency is before one happens. Make sure your family knows emergency phone numbers - and make sure your kids know how to place a call for help.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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