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: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013