What should I keep in my family first aid kit?

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It’s important to have a well-stocked first-aid kit in your home so you’re prepared to deal with any minor accidents and injuries. I’m often asked what first aid kits should contain for a growing family. With little people in the house, things like scratches and cut knees can be a regular occurrence. So you need to make sure your first aid kit contains adequate supplies for all ages.

First aid checklist

A basic family first aid kit may contain:

  • Plasters in a variety of different sizes and shapes
  • A thermometer (preferably digital)
  • Sterile gauze dressings of all sizes
  • Disposable sterile gloves
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Sticky or micropore tape
  • Skin rash cream, such as a mild topical steroid (1% hydrocortisone)
  • Antiseptic cream for minor scratches, bites and stings
  • Safety pins
  • Teething gel
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Painkillers such as liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen for children
  • Antihistamine such as Piriton

Of course, the list of items you can put into your first aid kit is endless. Think carefully about what your family might need. It’s also a good place to keep a spare of any prescription medications your child may take.

You can purchase first aid kids in various sizes that contain a range of basic essentials in most chemists. You can use these as a starting point and add to them if you need to. It’s important to always check the labels of medicines to ensure they are suitable for the age of your child and they have not passed their expiry date.

Where should I keep my first aid kit?

Your first aid kit should be locked and kept in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children. You can also place it into a sealable bag to minimise the risk of damage as much as possible.

Many people also keep a small, scaled-down first aid kit in their car for emergencies. It may also be useful to keep a basic first aid manual or instruction booklet with your first aid kit to give you guidance in an emergency.

How often should I re-stock my first aid kit?

Hopefully, you will not need to use your first aid kit too often! But that’s also why it’s important to review it from time to time to make sure everything is there for when you do need it.

Set some time aside, maybe once a year, to check up on all of your first aid kit items. Check things like expiry dates and amounts left in the boxes or tubes. Make a list of anything that’s out of date or missing and replace it.

Some items will expire. Sterile items and medicines, in particular, have a limited shelf life and lose their sterility after a period of time.

In between each check, keep an eye on what you’re using. Staying on top of your first aid stock will make sure you don’t unexpectedly encounter the dreaded empty box of plasters!

First aid kits are also an essential part of What to take when you travel with children.

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