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What Do I Need in a Family First Aid Kit?

Updated on January 14, 2015

It's always a good idea to have a first aid kit in your home just in case somebody has an accident.

Pre-packed kits are available to buy, but they don't always have everything you need. One option is to start out with a pre-packed kit and then add to it as necessary. The First Years American Red Cross First Aid Kit contains 42 items, including bandages, triple-antibiotic ointment, antiseptic towelettes, alcohol cleansing pads, hand sanitizer, tweezers, medical grade gloves, sterile gauze pads, and a Red Cross emergency first aid guide.

Emergency Contact Details

It makes sense to have important contact information ready and available near your first aid kit. You'll need the numbers for your family doctor, your local hospital. It's also a good idea to have a number for a friend or neighbor who can all if you need them to look after your children or take you to hospital in an emergency.

Remember to Update Your Kit

Make sure supplies are updated when necessary. Medical supplies have expiration dates so be sure that things get replaced when they need to be. Updating your first aid kit should be a regular thing that you do at a certain time each year.

Things You Need In Your Family First Aid Kit

So, what do you need in a first aid kit for your family. Let's run through a checklist of essentials...

  • Baby Thermometer. An accurate thermometer is an essential first-aid tool for parents. The First Years American Red Cross Sanitary Slide Digital Thermometer is small, cheap and takes temperatures fast. It has a digital display screen and can take a baby’s temperature in about eight seconds.
  • Pain Relief. You will need some children's and babies' liquid pain reliever with paracetamol or ibuprofen. You will need a measuring spoon or no-needle dosing syringe. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label.
  • Other Medicines. Have something for upset stomach, allergies or anything else family members are prone to suffering from.
  • Creams. Get some calamine lotion for sunburn and rashes. Antiseptic cream can be applied to cuts, grazes or minor burns after cleaning to help prevent infection. Antihistamine cream can be help soothe insect bites and stings.
  • Tweezers. These can be used to remove splinters and thorns. Don't try to remove larger objects. You should let a healthcare professional do that.
  • Saline solution and an eye bath. This is useful for washing specks of dirt out of sore eyes. It can also help with redness caused by allergies.
  • Antiseptic wipes. These are a handy way to clean cuts and grazes. To clean a wound, gently work away from the center to remove dirt and germs.
  • Bandages and plasters. You should get an assortment of bandages, including a triangular bandage, plus a 2.5cm and 5cm strip for holding dressings and compresses in place, and a finger bandage. Get some sticky plasters in various sizes and shapes. Also include adhesive tape and a sterile gauze.
  • A pair of sharp scissors. These are for cutting plasters and tape to size. You can also use them to remove pieces of clothing from around a wound.
  • Disposable sterile gloves. A couple of pairs of these are necessary to prevent germs and infections from spreading. It is a good idea to get non-latex gloves.just in case anyone has an allergy to latex.
  • Ice or gel packs. These should be kept in the fridge. They can be used on burns or swellings.

A First Aid Manual

It is always a good First Aid Manual close by to your first aid kit.

The American College of Emergency Physician's First Aid Manual shows you how to treat someone suffering from more than a hundred medical conditions and injuries, from minor burns to a heart attack. It's a very informative reference book with plenty of helpful color photos.


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    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 4 years ago from Florida

      Great advice. I have most of these in my first aid kit, along with a few other things. I also have pain relief spray for scrapes, burns, etc. as well as a small bottle of sterile water for flushing wounds.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      Very sensible ideas for 'topping up' a basic first aid kit; I think they all have to be personalised for any family. Although you're referring to an American kit, the same things apply here in Britain of course. An interesting and essential read for anyone. Up etc.