Getting sick or suffering an occasional cut or scrape is inevitable, and the last thing you want is to not have the necessary supplies on hand. Honestly, who wants to run to the store every time eye drops or cough syrup is needed? I think we can agree that the answer to that question is no one! With that said, I’ve got a first aid kit checklist for you today. First aid kits come in varying sizes, and some are bare bones while others, like this nurse’s first aid kit, cover every emergency imaginable— mine falls somewhere in between.
In addition to all the well known, typical first aid items, there are six items I highly recommend to everyone creating a first aid kit. And don’t worry! I’ll also include a full (RN approved) first aid kit checklist at the end (you can even download and print it).
The Importance Of Having A First Aid Kit
Before I get into my first aid kit essentials, I want to provide some information about the importance of having a safety kit. Although you know that accidents are bound to happen, it’s natural to push it to the back of your mind. Injuries don’t occur all of the time, so you might procrastinate to get a kit. However, I urge you to take these things into consideration:
How Far Do You Live From A Medical Facility?
If you’re someone who doesn’t live 5 to 10 minutes from a hospital, you desperately need a first aid kit. Not all injuries are severe, but there may be a time when you need to take a trip to the emergency room. For instance, if someone in your household has a deep cut that requires stitches, you’ll need to wrap the wound to slow down bleeding while heading to get medical attention.
Can You Treat Moderate Injuries At Home?
Going to the hospital isn’t fun, and it should be saved for severe accidents and illnesses. On the other hand, you want to have everything you need in your home to treat boo-boo’s that require more than a bandaid. If you sprain your wrist, having compression wraps on hand will aid in healing your injury and help you feel better without visiting your doctor.
Prevent and Restore
The bottom line is, treating injuries at home is all about three things:
- Preventing further damage
- Improving Recovery
- Preserving Life
First Aid Kits
I suggest having a first aid kit in (at least) three places: (1) a robust first aid kit in your home, (2) a smaller one in your 72-hour kit / go-bag, and (3) one in each vehicle.
We have one in our home. It is simply a bunch of tubs filled with first aid supplies that sit in our closet:
We also have one in our car. This one is in a tackle box:
In addition, we have a small first aid kit in our 72-hour kits that is stuffed into a quart-sized gallon bag to be as small as possible:
How To Make A First Aid Kit
There are many ways to create a first aid kit for your family, and there is no “perfect” container or list. In fact, you can get started with what you have! Just look around your home, and you’ll probably have most of the supplies already lying around. Don’t buy ANYTHING for your kit until you’ve gathered the supplies you already have!
Once you’ve pulled together your current stock, consider some of my suggestions below. First, I want to highlight six items that I’m truly impressed by, and I’ve used with success.
After the first six items, I’ll give you a full first aid kit checklist, which includes everything I keep in our family’s kit.
My 6 Favorite First Aid Kit Items
In addition to all of the typical first aid items, there are six essentials that I highly recommend to everyone who creates a safety kit. And don’t worry, I’ll also include a full RN approved first aid kit checklist at the end (you can even download and print it).
I suggest that you have a large kit in your home, a smaller one in your 72-hour kit / go-bag, and one in each vehicle. We have one in our house and it basically sits in our closet; there’s also one in our car. Plus, we have a small first aid kit in our 72-hour kit that is stuffed into a quart-sized gallon bag so that it’s as small as possible.
Our home kit is the most extensive, and I keep all of our supplies in various tubs in the closet. However, for the car, I love using a tackle box to organize our emergency supplies. There is a spot for everything, which makes it easy for me to find what I need quickly.
I use this large tackle box.
No amount of medical supplies will save your life if you don’t know how to use them —skills are essential. I highly recommend books by James Hubbard, aka “The Survival Doctor.” He provides useful information about what to do when help isn’t available. He is down to earth, knowledgeable, and a certified physician.
Dr. Hubbard does not recommend using the techniques he teaches as a substitute for getting medical attention. He only suggests using the procedures when there is no medical help. Find his books HERE.
This pain-relieving spray really works and it’s a must-have for kids! Use it on cuts and scrapes without touching them. AHHH-mazing!
P.S. The red spray that comes in the red can is also antibacterial. Find it HERE.
This is an amazing product! It can be cut to splint any bone in the body. So instead of having various splints, just get this one and some scissors! Find them HERE.
Severe bleeding is a scary emergency. This will stop heavy bleeding quickly and it’s safe to use. Find it HERE.
I genuinely believe this gel is a miracle worker. I burned my entire palm and my finger while grabbing a pot handle out of a 450- degree oven. I applied this, and the next day it was as if nothing happened.
I have numerous stories I could share, but I’ll simply say we are never, ever without this gel in our home. Find it HERE.
.Where I Buy My Supplies
Until June of 2006, I bought most of my supplies on Amazon.com, and I still recommend them as an option if you have free prime shipping. With free shipping and no tax, their prices are incredibly competitive. I love Amazon because I don’t have to leave my house and drag my kids around the store. Plus, all the products get to my home in two days. When I need to restock, I just search for my order history and reorder with one click.
Full First Aid Kit Checklist
Alright, on the full first aid kit checklist! I spent hours researching online to create an outline of what I felt were the most critical items to have without creating an overly exhaustive list. Once I put it together, I took it to an RN for approval. Jolynn is a registered nurse that works with My Medic, and she has over 13 years of experience working in a southern California emergency room. She gave me some great feedback regarding the items on my first aid kit checklist.
If you’d like, you can download and print this safety kit checklist by clicking HERE or on the image below. You can also skip to the bottom of this post for my thoughts on each item on the list.
Details on My First Aid Kit Checklist
Compound tincture of benzoin (Jolynn says this is a must for kids. It gets band-aids to stick much better! You can also use it to get gauze etc to stay put)
Liquid Bandage (Superglue works too)
Trauma Pads (Menstrual pads work too)
Triangular bandage (lots of uses for this: bandage, sling, tourniquet)
Eyewash (Jolynn suggests using this for wound irrigation)
Water Jel Burn Gel (This stuff is a miracle worker. I’ve burned my whole hand on a stove burner, and my finger in hot oil and within less than a day, it doesn’t look as if anything happened.)
Fever / Pain
Thermometer (I like this one for the forehead, but there are obviously much less expensive options.)
Pain relieving spray (I’ve always used Dermoplast.
*Cooling Towel (These are the BEST on a hot day! I think they’d be a lifesaver if there was no AC and it was a really hot summer.)
Povidone-Iodine Wipes (More effective than antibiotic ointment. Better for larger / deeper wounds)
Antiseptic pads/wipes (For hands and wounds)
Allergy medicine (Such as Benadryl.
*Cold eeze (Zinc gluconate. Can help prevent a cold (or so it is said)
Sprain / Break
Flexible splint such as a Sam splint
MediLyte (A pill that contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium to replace lost electrolytes. Jolynn recommends using it in conjunction with the Oral IV)
Kids medicine doesn’t come in small “travel sized” packages, so it can be tough to include in a smaller first aid kit. The dosages also depend on the size of the child. I recommend adding these to your kits separately.
Lollipops (for distraction)
Nitrile gloves (don’t get latex since so many people are allergic)
EMT Shears (Better for removing clothing etc than the smaller scissor linked to earlier)
*Ziplock bags (for soiled items)
How To Get the Most Out Of Your First Aid Kit
The good thing about most medications, bandages, and other first aid items is that they have long shelf lives. However, if you want to get the most out of your kit, be sure to store it in the right place. Check out the tips below:
Store Your First Aid Kit In A Dry, Cool Location
An excellent spot to put your kit would be in a coat closet or a pantry. Go through your home and figure out which area has the most consistent temperature. Keep it away from areas that are prone to get very hot or cold, and places that hold moisture. You want to try your best to preserve the life of the contents inside of the kit.
2. Make Sure It’s Easily Accessible
Everyone in your household needs to know where the first aid kit is, and it should be easy to access. If there is an emergency, you don’t want everyone scrambling to find it. Put it in a place where your family members see it often. That way, if they ever need it, they’ll remember where it is. Also, put the kit in a place where it’s within your children’s reach.
3. Regularly Check Expiration Dates
You obviously won’t have to use your kit all of the time, so certain things might expire before you have a chance to use it. My suggestion is to take inventory of everything and write down all of the expiration dates. That way, you can quickly look over the dates and dispose of anything that’s outdated.
4. Replace Items That You Use
The last thing you want is to reach for medication or bandages only to realize you’ve run out. Keep your first aid kit fully stocked so that all items are there when you need them.
5. Keep A Separate Stash Of First Aid Supplies
There are those rare times when the entire family gets sick, or both of your children injure themselves, and your first aid kit is good for those occurrences. However, things like headache medicine tend to go quickly. So, it’s a smart idea to put a bottle in your cabinets and your kit. And if you have kids who fall and scrape their knees and elbows regularly, I suggest having a double supply of bandages and Neosporin.
Why Should You Put An Emergency Kit In Your Car?
Some of you may have never thought about putting a safety kit in your car, but it’s one of the main places that you need one. Accidents can happen anywhere, and that includes your vehicle. Most people spend a lot of time in their cars as they commute to and from work, running errands, on road trips, etc. Plus, things like severe weather, traffic jams, and car crashes are some of the few situations that could result in the need for a first aid kit. With that said, you should put one in your vehicle just in case.
Final Thoughts On First Checklist Essentials
Thankfully, every illness or bruise that your family endures won’t require a visit to the doctor, but preparation is key. You’ll feel a lot better knowing that you have the supplies on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones when the time comes. I hope this article provides you with useful information to keep your family happy and healthy. Also, please be sure to stock your kit with the items it’s missing. Now that I’ve given you a rundown of everything that I know, I need your help. What have I missed? What do you keep in YOUR first aid kit? What products do you find “ingenious?”
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