You never need a first aid kit, right? That is, until you need one. When an injury or accident happens, there is nothing worse than adding to the chaos by not having what you need to remedy the situation quickly. So let’s review a few things that every kit should have, and a few that are good add on options for different types of preparation.
These 10 items should be a part of every first aid kit.
- A container – You need to keep it all together. It can be a strong Ziploc bag, or another container type that you already have, but make sure it closes. If you have young and curious children in the house, make sure it’s difficult for them to open or stored on a high shelf.
- First-aid manual – this might include CPR instructions and basic skills; the Red Cross has a lot of print material available here, or you can search the internet for material from other reputable and accredited resources.
- Adhesive Bandages – I recommend going for a decent quality, because the cheap brands will suffice, but they can dry out quicker and leave you with a non-sticking piece of plastic. Stock a variety of sizes and if you’d like, for a variety of situations (i.e. waterproof, for a blister)
- Alcohol swab – these are found in pre-moistened one time use packets. Be sure to have at least 3-5 because you may need multiple for a single injury.
- First aid ointment – Found under a variety of brand names, this is usually a clear and jelly like product that aids in infection prevention in minor skin abrasions, cuts, scrapes, or burns
- Gel Ice Pack – you have a couple of options here – you can purchase a one time activated gel pack, or you can make your own. If you are going on a day trip, you can also free some water in plastic sandwich bags, which can lay flat in a cooler, or simply put ice cubes in a bag to use.
- Elastic bandage –
- Tweezers – for pulling splinters, small pieces of glass, or other skin obstructions.
- Splint – in a pinch you can also throw in popsicle sticks or use branches onsite, but having a ready to go splint is a great addition
- Adhesive Tape
10 Additional items you might want to consider:
- Scissors – not only for cutting bandages, but for clothing that might need removed to attend to an injury or for cutting material to make a bandage if necessary
- Thermometer – you can monitor symptoms easily this way
- Blanket – there are varying kinds, and some fold up small enough to store easily
- Rain Poncho – not necessarily first aid, but ideal to have in a rainy situation for covering up or even sitting down on wet ground
- CPR mouthpiece – prevents transfer of body fluids when administering CPR
- Bug bite ointment
- Antihistamine – good to have on hand for an allergic reaction
- Aspirin – for fever reduction
- Safety pins
- First Aid Soap
As with all medications and supplies, be sure to check at least twice a year that your materials are not expired and are in good working condition.