Safety First: Building Your Family’s First Aid Kit

A Band-Aid can’t fix everything, but if it’s part of your family’s homemade first aid kit, you’re on the right track. According to Taylor Jesko, wellness specialist with ProMedica Wellness, you can’t predict when or where an accident might take place.

“First aid kits should be accessible in homes because minor injuries can occur at any time,” Jesko says. “You should be able to locate your first aid kit quickly to provide medical support to whoever is in need. When storing your kit at home, keep it in the bathroom, garage or kitchen.”

Additionally, Jesko recommends utilizing a travel first aid kit when you are planning to be active away from home. Trips to the park, bicycle rides, and camping and fishing excursions are all occasions when a first aid kit could come in handy. Jesko recommends storing your travel first aid kit under a car seat or in the trunk.

What to Include in Your First Aid Kit

If you’re building your first aid kit from scratch, Jesko suggests including the following:

  • Band-Aids or other adhesive bandages: Use these for minor cuts and scrapes.
  • Gauze: Apply gauze to control minor bleeds.
  • Absorbent compress dressing: This will help control and stop bleeds.
  • ACE bandage wrap: Use ACE wrap for sprained ankles or wrists, or to apply pressure to a dressedwound.
  • Anti-bacterial ointment: Make sure to clean and disinfect minor cuts and scrapes with anti-bacterial ointment.
  • Hydrocortisone ointment: This is necessary to ease reactions to bee and wasp stings or spider and bug bites, poison ivy, poison oak, and other rashes.
  • Instant ice pack: Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling and pain, control bleeds, and to reduce body temperature.
  • Blanket
  • Scissors
  • Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Tylenol: Aside from the occasional headache, these can help reduce pain.
  • Tweezers: These are helpful for removing splinters and thorns.
  • Rubber gloves: Use gloves to protect yourself from contaminants.

“Other supplies, such as matches, flashlights, flint, cotton balls, water bottles, compass, and knife can be used in emergency survival situations,” Jesko adds.

Your first aid kit should always be restocked after it has been used. It’s also important to check the contents of the kit before you leave on a trip to make sure nothing is missing or expired.

“Teach your children about the contents and what everything is used for, in case they need to use it when adults are not around,” Jesko advises.

For a full list of recommended first aid kit supplies, please check out the Red Cross’ first aid kit list.