Everyone should have a well-stocked first aid kit handy for the home as well as the car. You never know when you will need it, and it is always better to be prepared for an emergency. First aid kits should also be checked once or twice a year to ensure that the supplies have not expired, and refill any items that have been used. There are ready-made kits available at many retailers, but you can also stock your own to ensure that the products you have on hand are good quality items. A plastic shoebox with a snap-top lid can make an effective first aid kit, and fits nicely on a shelf or under a seat in your car. You can also fill a smaller box with some bare essentials to create a first aid kit for the park or soccer games. No matter where you are, it is always a good idea to have some band-aids and a few other supplies available.
Bandages are usually the first basic that people think of when they begin stocking a first aid kit. Bandages of assorted shapes and sizes are a good idea, so you are prepared for a variety of cuts and scrapes. Butterfly bandages should be included to hold cuts closed, and gauze pads can come in handy to help stop bleeding. Include a roll of hypoallergenic adhesive tape to help hold your gauze pads in place. A roller bandage is also a good choice in your first aid kit, to give support to a sore ankle or other joint. Other supplies that you will need to have on hand to treat cuts and abrasions will be antibiotic ointment and latex gloves. A bottle of water and antiseptic towelettes are a smart addition for cleaning and rinsing wounds out before dressing them.
There are a number of medications that your first aid kit should include. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen and allergy medication are both good choices. You can add eye drops, and stomach medications for indigestion and antidiarrheals to round out your medicine inventory. Syrup of Ipecac is also important to have on hand, but never administer it without checking with your poison control center first. Make sure before taking any medication from your first aid kit that the medicine is not expired and check dosage information every time you use it – especially when administering medicines to children.
Last but definitely not least, a first aid manual should be a top priority for your first aid kits, along with emergency numbers for your doctor, pharmacy and poison control. A first aid kit filled with supplies is only useful if the owner knows how to use the items! Don’t wait until an emergency to wish you had a first aid kit on hand; stock it now and rest assured that you will be prepared if an urgent situation comes along.