Must-haves for your family first aid kit

August 16, 2018 | by Jennifer McNulty, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

Moms are often prepared for anything. What about an emergency?

Kids can get hurt when you’re standing right next to them. When accidents happen, you want to be ready. First, know how to handle an emergency. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides helpful information on when to call 911.

The AAP also offers a first aid guide for parents and caregivers with tips for how to handle specific injuries and urgent situations. Make sure all your caregivers, including babysitters, know how to recognize an emergency and handle it.

Next, have the tools on hand to deal with an emergency. A family first aid kit can help you be prepared for whatever comes up, from common injuries like cuts, scrapes, and insect bites to serious burns or allergic reactions.

Pre-made kits are an easy option. You can purchase a first aid kit for the family. If you would like more supplies than what’s provided, you can always add extra items to it. You may want to keep one kit at home and another one with you in the car or when you travel.

You could also build your own first aid kit from scratch. Get a zippered bag or case with a handle, then fill it. One must-have item to include in your kit is emergency names and numbers for:

Next, fill your first aid kit with these supplies (as recommended by your doctor):

  • Infant and/or child thermometers
  • Rubbing alcohol swabs /antiseptic cleansing wipes
  • Petroleum jelly (for rectal thermometers)
  • Tweezers (for removing splinters, ticks)
  • A pair of small scissors
  • Antibiotic ointment (for cuts, scrapes)
  • Hydrocortisone ointment/cream packs (for insect bites, poison ivy)
  • Numbing spray (for burns, cuts, scrapes)
  • Adhesive bandage strips in various sizes and shapes
  • ACETM bandage (for sprains, strains)
  • Gauze rolls/pads and adhesive tape
  • Sterile cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
  • Saline nose drops/spray and nasal aspirator bulb
  • Aloe gel (for burns)
  • Irrigating eye wash
  • Pre-made finger splint
  • Ziploc® bags
  • Non-latex gloves
  • Children’s acetaminophen and ibuprofen (for fever, mild pain)
  • Children’s antihistamine/Benadryl® (for insect bites, hives, allergic reactions)
  • Child-safe sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Mild liquid soap, hand sanitizer packs
  • An instant cold compress/ice pack
  • A small flashlight
  • Bottle of Gatorade
  • Blanket

If your child has any type of life-threatening allergy, you should always carry an epinephrine injector (e.g., EpiPen), asthma inhaler, or other prescription medication with you at all times.

Make sure you store all first aid kits out of reach of curious children. You don’t want your little ones getting into anything unsupervised.

Jennifer McNulty, M.D. is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Edward Hospital. Read her profile.

Learn about pediatric emergency care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Related blogs:

When to take your child to the ER

How to handle an emergency

What to do if someone is poisoned

How (and when) to treat a burn at home


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