Updated: Oct 17, 2018
Keeping a first-aid in your home is a wonderful idea; however keeping one in each car as well as your home is an even better idea. What to keep in your first-aid kit is a great question, and it depends on how comprehensive you want to be (and how big of a kit you want to keep). There are several basics everyone should have, but there are also some things that you may not think about that would come in handy in certain emergency situations.
Store-bought first-aid kits can be found in various drugstores or local Red Cross offices, and they will work well. However, if you want to create your own first-aid kit that you can take with you on a vacation, or just to keep handy around the house or while going about your daily business, here are some ideas of what may be worthwhile to include in your kit.
A great container to keep your first-aid supplies in is a plastic tackle box. These are lightweight, spacious and have handles so they’re easy to carry.
As for filling your kit, let’s start with some of the basics.
Band-Aids are perfect for covering minor cuts and scrapes and protecting open wounds from getting dirty
Either bandage form or pieces in small and larger sizes are great for larger wounds that have more seepage or blood
Antibiotic ointment is great for cleaning and protecting a wound without having soap and water handy
Aspirin, or other headache or pain management medicine
Now for a few items that may not be obvious, but could come in handy during and emergency situation.
Flashlight. This will be your best friend if your car should break down in the dark, or if it’s dark out and you need to treat a wound of some sort. This will also require a backup set of batteries to be included in the kit, specifically batteries that fit your flashlight, stored in a waterproof container or bag.
Hand Sanitizer. More and more often, stores and public areas are placing hand sanitizer dispensers for the public to use. Small sized versions of hand sanitizers are easily portable and are great for using to clean your hands before and after you treat someone else’s (or your own) open wound. Sanitizing your hands will decrease the likelihood of infecting a wound and spreading germs.
Water Purification Tablets. These little pills are not fail-safe, but they can help in a truly emergency situation. If you are trapped in a situation where you only have access to river, lake or puddle water, you can drop these tablets in to a container full of this water and it’ll be safer for you to drink than without the tablets. Going for long periods without drinking water can be very dangerous.
Cold and Hot Snap Packs. If you hit your head or sprain an ankle, it will immediately start to feel better if you get a cold pack applied to the injured area. These portable packs will be dormant until you snap them open, then they become instant heat or cooling sources.
Scissors. What else can you use to cut a roll of gauze or other types of bandage? They can also be used in case of needing to cut away clothing to treat a hidden wound.
Saline. Great for an emergency eye wash, and also can be used to flush a wound if there is no water around.
Safety Pins. These can not only help remove splinters, ticks and thorns, but they can also be used to keep a bandage in place.
Latex Gloves. Safety first, especially if you will be working on a stranger.
First Aid manual or instruction booklet. This is optional, as it is great to read before an emergency occurs, but you may not have time to flip through it if you are involved in an actual emergency. It doesn’t hurt to have, though, if you need to reference it for things such as CPR instructions.
Remember to check batteries and expiration dates on medical items and medicines to keep a current, working kit at all times.