- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
"Mom, Where's a Band-Aid?"
Creating a Well-stocked First-Aid Kit
Each of us has had a kitchen accident, bruised ourselves, or had a child scrape a knee. It’s nice to know you are prepared for these types of emergencies, know where to find your First-Aid Kit, and that it is well-stocked.
Keeping a well-stocked first aid kit helps you respond quickly to common emergencies. Having band-aids, antiseptic creams, and other items scattered around the house means that people spend more time than necessary gathering these items.
- Make sure each family member knows where you keep the kit and replace items when you run low.
- Stock one for your home and one for your car.
- Alert your babysitter where you keep your home kit and inform them that all emergency numbers are in your kit.
Do you have a first-aid kit or just bandaids and first-aid cream in the junk drawer?
When Seniors Live in the House
Many seniors have moved in with their grown children. For these family members, there might be an emergency; requiring them to call a Fire Department or EMT.
Be sure that you have these numbers in your kit as well. Then explain to all children how to call 911 if Grandpa or Grandma won’t wake up, they fall and cannot get up, or the grandparent tells them to call.
Storing Your Kit
Storing your boxes out of reach of small children is best. There are varieties of containers you can use. I prefer a plastic box with snap down lids that can be stacked, made by Snap Ware. These boxes stack securely, and the handle folds down allowing for better storage.
I've tried other boxes but like the fact that the handles fold down. You can buy all of these from a drug store, big box store, or buy the items online.
I also like the fact that I can add another set to the bottom of the first two and keep things more organized than the typical medicine cabinet or junk drawer.
What Goes in the First Aid Kit?
The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the following:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket (space blanket)
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
Non-essential medications - Until We Need Them
In a separate box, I keep the heating pad, the gel packs, and the other odd medical items I rarely use, but regret not being able to find them when I need them.
- Activated charcoal – only use this if you call poison control, and they tell you to use it
- Aloe Vera gel
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl
- Aspirin and non-aspirin pain relievers
- Emergency space blanket
- Calamine lotion
- Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream
- Personal medications that don't need refrigeration
- If prescribed by your doctor, drugs to treat an allergic attack, such as an auto-injector like EpiPen
- Measured medicine cup or spoon
Other Uses for these Boxes
I have a separate Emergency Sewing Box, as well. Threads, needles, and straight pins. When I get a new article of clothing, the replacement buttons go in it.
When I find articles I want to read, I print them and put them in their box. Saturday mornings, a great cup or coffee, and time, plus my tote, is all I need to be content for a few hours on the deck.
In addition, I have a set for all the hotel guest soaps and shampoos. My grandkids like having their very own "little person" size soap or shampoo when they visit.
I also keep all my basic tools like screwdrivers, pliers, hammer and an assortment of nails in a tote box. Then I have one for "lights out" emergencies. Flashlight and extra batteries as well as emergency candles, matches and lighters.
When I was seventeen, I was involved in a serious motorcycle accident with a head injury. Of course, there were no cell phones at that time, and the individual, I was riding with, was conscious and told the police how to contact my parents.
They were four hours away, but the injuries were severe enough to warrant surgery with only their verbal consent.
I remember when I finally saw my parents the day after the accident. My mother was so grateful that I got the care I needed, but she decided that each of us would have certain documentation in our cars at all times.
Even though we have cell phones today, if someone is unconscious, there should be a way to have the authorities contact the appropriate people.
In my wallet is a note to Emergency Responders. It tells them where the relevant numbers are in my house - a closet, and in my car - the trunk.
Emergency Forms and Numbers
Some forms to consider for your First-Aid Kit are:
- Permission to Receive Medical Attention or Services, signed by each family member, or in the case of small children, parents’ permission is practical and may be life-saving. You will need to inquire online about your state’s laws concerning this form.
- Emergency phone numbers of relatives or friends
- Phone numbers for your primary doctor or pediatrician
- Phone number for your pharmacy
- Medical history forms for each family member – this can be an attachment to the Permission to Receive Medical Attention form or a separate document.
- First-aid instruction manual
Check Your Kit Quarterly
Make sure that all medications are current; your flashlight is working, and if you have to replace a battery in it, replace the used batteries with another. I tap an excel spreadsheet with use by dates to keep me on top of my emergency kits.
Check your lighter as well.
It's always better to be safe, not sorry or running around frantically looking for that band-aid.
© 2013 Marilyn L Davis