What Items Should Be In A First Aid Kit?
Having a well-organized and well-stocked first aid kit is one of the best ways to prepare for an emergency.
A first aid kit in your car allows you to treat injuries while you’re away from home or if you're in predicament and don't have access to medical supplies.
The creation of your own first aid kit can be cost effective and an easy alternative to purchasing a pre-made kit. Creating your own first aid kit also allows you to customize the first aid kit based on the medical needs of your family and friends.
First Aid Supplies
A well-equipped first aid kit is more than just band-aids and scissors. There are quite a few different types of supplies you might not have considered that can be very beneficial to have on hand such as medical care options for children and infants as well as a First Aid manual. In this blog post, we’ll cover the essential items for any first aid kit checklist to help you create your own.
1. A Box or Container.
When purchasing your first aid container box, look for a container that comes with transparent inner compartments so you can have a clear view of the items inside. Also, look for a light-weight tackle box with handles, and never put a padlock on your kit because you will need to get to it quickly in an emergency.
2. Essential First Aid Items.
Here are some essential items that you might want to keep in your first aid kit:
Adhesive Band-Aids for covering cuts
Gauze pads for treating wounds
Safety pins for closing bandages
Antiseptic and hydrocortisone cream for skin inflammation and rashes
Antihistamine for allergic reactions
Antiseptic wipes to sanitize your hands
Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or other pain relieving medication
Aloe Vera to treat mild burns
Insect bite relief pads
A digital thermometer
Curved scissors (Medical grade)
Saline solution for eye washing or cleaning wounds
3. Child and Infant Medication Doses and Accessories.
If you have young children in your family, include child and infant pain relievers, any prescribed medication, Benadryl spray, child & infant sunscreen, small bandages, baby wipes, and a syringe or medicine cup for administering medications.
4. First Aid Manual & Instructions.
A first aid manual will provide the necessary steps to assist you in a medical emergency. Another alternative is to participate in a CPR and First Aid certification class to receive hands-on training. Try to also include a summary of the information you learned in the class inside your First Aid kit so you remember what to do in the middle of an emergency.
5. Items for Serious and Acute Emergencies.
Additional emergency first aid items may be needed to facilitate acute medical emergencies such as choking, cardiac arrest, drowning, severe allergic reactions, and car accidents.
A. Hot and cold packs. Preferably, the kind that you just have to snap to activate the heating or cooling sensation
B. Latex free synthetic gloves if you’re dealing with serious wounds
C. A CPR mask for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
D. Anti-diarrhea medication
E. An Epi-Pen for severe allergic reactions
F. A biohazard bag or marked plastic bag for disposal of contaminated items
Tips for using the first aid kit
Ensuring that you have a first aid kit in your car is always a wonderful initiative. However, there may be times that it will be ineffective if you don't know how to use its contents. Here are a few essential first aid tips that you can follow:
1. Always disinfect. Always try to disinfect your hands and the area of injury before bandaging a wound. Open wounds and skin-to-skin contact can lead to infections and the spread of illness.
2. Stop the bleeding. Apply direct pressure to any open wound to stop the bleeding before wrapping it or applying a bandage.
3. Immobilize the injured area. For trauma and broken bones, make sure that the injured area is immobilized without excess weight or pressure on top of it. Unless you are a healthcare professional such as a medical doctor, don’t try to reset or stint the bone yourself.
4. Perform CPR for nonresponsive persons who aren’t breathing. In the event that a person isn’t breathing and is unresponsive, perform CPR immediately.
5. When in doubt, call 911. For individuals in need of CPR, call 911 as soon as you determine that CPR is needed. For those with serious injuries or for anyone you believe needs extra treatment; always call 911.
6. Always restock your first aid kit. After using some of your essential first aid items to address any medical emergencies, it’s important to replace those items as soon as possible.
7. Some medical emergencies are bigger than your first aid kit can handle. If you feel that you or a loved one need emergency treatment, contact emergency services. If someone has a large wound or won’t stop bleeding, has sustained a head injury, may need CPR, or is experiencing severe symptoms call 911 right away. When in doubt, always call 911!
8. Take a first aid or CPR course. The best way to learn how to use your first aid kit in the event of any emergency is to take a Basic First Aid or CPR certification course that teaches you essential lifesaving skills.
Our CPR and First Aid courses at Help-A-Heart CPR can help you prepare for unforeseen emergencies. Whether you’re a parent looking to learn basic first aid for your children, a future medical professional hoping to get some training, or just interested in first aid, taking a class is a great way to sharpen your skills and potentially save someone’s life!
Our CPR certification and Basic First Aid classes will leave you feeling ready to use that first aid kit. We’ll cover patient assessment, bleeding wounds, allergic reactions, and much more. If you’re interested, take a moment to review our class schedule and find a date and time that works for you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re here to help. Just use our online contact form or give us a call at 210-380-5344.
Dr. Tracy A. Jones is the CEO of Help-A-Heart CPR, LLC and an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.