Making a family first aid kit

Today we welcome guest post author Geralin Thomas, the ideal professional organizer from Cary, NC, and her amazing advice for making a family first aid kit.

Whether it’s a scrape, a sting or a sore throat, being prepared and having the right antidote on hand can soothe almost anything that ails you or your children. Creating a family-friendly first aid kit doesn’t have to be a pain in the aspirin (hee hee hee).

The “kit” can be a backpack, large ice bucket, plastic cooler, metal toolbox, small suitcase or something similar. Look around your home and chances are, you will have a container that can be repurposed and is suitable for the job. The contents of the kit can be purchased from any drugstore. The idea of today’s post is to motivate you to organize, update and/or create a kit so you’re prepared.

Below is a list of possible items to include in your home remedy kit. While this list is far from perfect and won’t be appropriate for all families, it is a starting point. Please leave comments and share suggestions regarding what your own home remedy kit will contain.

  • An oral syringe, or calibrated cup and spoon for administering liquid medicines
  • Children’s strength liquid acetaminophen or ibuprofen (non-aspirin)
  • Pediatrician-approved children’s strength liquid decongestant
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid
  • Activated charcoal (use only if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Digital thermometer
  • Tweezers and a pair of sharp scissors
  • Latex gloves
  • Safety pins
  • Sterilized needle
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Hydrocortisone cream (0.5% for children)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Nasal aspirator bulb syringe
  • Variety of adhesive bandage strips
  • Gauze rolls, sterile
  • Gauze pads, sterile
  • Adhesive tape
  • Cotton pads and cotton swabs
  • Heating pad
  • Hot-water bottle and cover
  • Ice pack
  • Pedialyte Oral Electrolyte Solution

In addition to the store-bought items below, consider including an index card with the following information typed in a large, bold, easy-to-read font:

  • Mobile phone numbers of parents and the home address (in the event someone, in an emergency, can’t recall the home address)
  • Children’s full names, any known allergies and birthdates
  • Pediatrician’s name and phone number
  • Pharmacy’s phone number and address
  • American Red Cross First Aid — Responding to Emergencies

24 Comments for “Making a family first aid kit”

  1. posted by Celeste on

    It’s worth keeping the liquid medications separate from the other first aid supplies. You will use them more frequently, they have an expiration date you need to be aware of, and they should be kept out of reach of small children even if they do have child-proof caps.

    We use a tackle box for the first aid supplies but truthfully, we seldom use much of it. Bandaids and cortisone cream kept in the bathroom have been the extent of it.

    I will add that I think it’s good to keep a pair of cheap magnifying reader glasses with this stuff, because the print on the medication bottles is really tiny and if you have to dig out a splinter, they can help a lot even if your vision is pretty much okay.

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  3. posted by Felicia on

    Thanks for the timely post. We just purchased a camper and I hadn’t considered that I needed to get some kind of First Aid Kit together and store in there.

  4. posted by momofthree on

    I also liken this is an emergency preparedness kit!!
    As a scouting family (girls and I in Girl Scouts, hubby and son in Boy Scouts) we have many of the items listed in the house, both cars, and kits that we take on all troop outings. Never can be prepared enough, especially when away from home.

  5. posted by Aaron on

    I like the list and the idea of a first aid kit, but I am curious about how people maintain these in an uncluttered way. Do you use a rotate stock method? How do you remember? It would seem to be a constant mental nag every time I went to the store.

  6. posted by Geralin Thomas on

    @ Celeste, Brilliant! I love the idea of keeping a pair of “readers’ in there. I’m adding it to my list. Thanks for that safety-tip!

    @ Aaron, I check mine once a year (when the school year ends) and it’s a fairly quick, pain-free, examination of the contents. I’m going for “good enough” not perfect. Plus, did I mention I’m not really a “wilderness mom” so the chances of me being too far from civilization are slim.

    Geralin

  7. posted by Melissa (oddharmonic) on

    We keep nitrile, not latex, gloves in our jump bags in case of allergy. They are sold next to the latex gloves at many retailers.

  8. posted by Dia on

    Nice list!
    I’d add coconut oil!!
    It’s great for anything to do with the skin (inc sunburn) & with a shelf life of a couple of years! It’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal; killing bad buggies that have a lipid coat (inc staph, strep, Herpes, hep C, HIV, etc) downright amazing stuff!
    Last weekend I was out & about with friends & noticed a slightly inflammed cut on my finger. I had a small vial of coconut oil along, & applied it (no bandage) when I thought of it. By the time we were home, it was barely pink, well on the way to healing.
    It is great for us too (medium chain fatty acids, lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol & doesn’t deposit in the body as fat!) Great stuff!! Best is Virgin Organic Coconut oil.

  9. posted by Carrie on

    That’s a great list! While we don’t have a ‘kit’ per se, we have just about everything on that list. I grew up in a home where a bandaid was hard to find…and my mom’s a registered nurse! (We had bandaids and aspirin and Tums, but not all three at the same time!) I think I’ve compensated by having everything one might possibly need. We still tease my mom about her lack of supplies…

  10. posted by Carrie on

    Posted too soon. I would add a topical antihistamine cream and antihistamine pills/liquid. We keep adult Benadryl pills, children’s Benadryl liquid and Benadryl cream on hand in case of possible allergic reactions.

  11. posted by JenK on

    I have a small kit with band-aids, moleskin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, allergy pills, and inhaler in my bag. I also have a small penknife with attached scissors for cutting the moleskin. :)

  12. posted by another sue on

    I have been trying to get it all together as we head into yet another tornado season. Our emergency preparedness people advise us to take these things to the basement with us and another item they list that I had never thought of before is a whistle!

  13. posted by Geralin Thomas on

    @ Melissa, I am a fan of non-latex gloves too. Love them as a matter of fact.

    @ Dia, I’m having a a pina colada craving reading your post.
    Really? Seriously? Coconut oil? I’ve never heard of that but I’m going to investigate it and thank you for posting.

    @ JenK, yes a small knife is a good thing too. I have a pink Swiss Army knife :-)

    @Sue, You are correct. A whistle is a very smart thing to add to an “evacuation” kit as it’s very handy in floods.

    Many thanks for all the comments and suggestions. Much appreciated!

  14. posted by Cindy on

    As usual, Geralin has a wealth of information. I feel inspired and think she would perform another miracle in my home if she came over to work on our bathroom cabinets!

  15. posted by hragape on

    We keep a tube of super glue for emergency fixes to cuts that won’t stop bleeding.

  16. posted by Ari Lestariono on

    Very useful information and the kind of first aid requires in our environment.Should put a campaign on this to every family members

  17. posted by Taylor at Household Management 101 on

    I like your list. I recently created a similar list, a checklist for your first aid kit, if you want to compare. (Click my name as the link)

    In my research for that checklist I learned that you should no longer have syrup of ipecac in your first aid kit, which I did not know. I notice you do not have it on your list, so that is good. I just don’t think some people are aware that they no longer recommend this.

    I also learned, however, that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend to have activated charcoal in your first kit either. I provided the link to their website explaining their reasoning in my article. Again, it was something I did not know before doing the research.

    Finally, I also think it is a great idea to have a paper in the first aid kit with the information on it you suggest. I would also suggest putting poison control’s number on the card. The Poison Help hotline number is 1-800-222-1222.

  18. posted by April from Garner on

    Liquid Benadryl (or its generic) is an absolute MUST in case of an allergic reaction. It can also be used if someone gets sick and can also be used topically if you have nothing else. I second the recommendation on Coconut oil – it helped soothe and heal breastfeeding related thrush. Is stays a semi-solid in the jar until it hits warmth. Can be used topically or taken internally.

  19. posted by Gryphon on

    My family was always big on keeping an eye wash solution kit in with other first aid supplies. A wrist and ankle brace to deal with sprains can also be very handy.

  20. posted by Maike on

    Geralin,
    Excellent ideas! I agree with the oral and topical antihistamines, however do not use both at the same time, one or the other. Saline eye wash may also come in handy. Aspirin for adult emergencies is also a good idea. Small single dose packets are available at most drug stores.
    Now the nurse in me will come out and also recomend a set of small laminated cards with CPR and choking instructions. In an emergency we all get rattled and may forget how to proceed. There are also disposable mouth covers with pre made openings that are used for mouth to mouth resusitation. One brand is Microshield, Clear Mouth Barrier made by Medical Device International.
    I have a kit with all the above in my car and we carry a seperate kit with on all hikes. In the summer I also keep a few bottles of water and protein bars just in case.

  21. posted by Lisa on

    One thing we also keep in our kit is Oragel or a similar canker sore/teething gel. Not so much for using in the mouth, especially for babies for whom Tylenol is much better for teething pain, but to use topically when getting a splinter out. It really makes a difference, especially for little ones.

  22. posted by Another Deb on

    I have several Ziploc Baggies in the kit. It is helpful to have a container for ice if you need to make an ice pack. You can also use them for containing things like teeth that may have been knocked out, or to contain the contaminated material used from the kit.

  23. posted by Christine Q on

    Love this idea! However, I’m a little overwhelmed as to how to organize and store this long list of potentially useful stuff. What has worked for others?

  24. posted by Linkworthy - 4/12/09 | MattCleaver.com on

    [...] Making a first aid kit – Though this is meant for families, it might be a good starting point for your youth ministry first aid kit if you are making your own or restocking a used kit. [...]

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