21 Items Every First Aid Kit Should Have
Injury and illness follow no set schedule and adhere to no specific place and time. Whether you’re at home, doing the rounds at work, enjoying an outdoor activity with your friends or family, or travelling, it’s always good to assume that the worst-case scenario may play out—and to be prepared for it. There are several ways that you can incorporate the so-called “first aider’s mindset” into your everyday life: you can teach your children to express themselves to adults when someone in their vicinity is hurt, you can keep a directory of emergency contacts readily available in your home, or you can sharpen your knowledge by taking a first aid training course in Sydney. But one practice you should definitely keep up for every partition of your life is to assemble a well-stocked first aid kit.
A first aid kit is meant to help you address minor bouts of injury or illness, as well as to provide stopgap measures in an emergency while professional medical help is on the way. You can assemble your personal kit to see you through wounds, abrasions, splinters, sprains, minor burns, eye injuries, and even more serious conditions like shock. The guiding principles that you should follow when stocking your first aid kit are to keep it in a cool, dry place; keep it out of reach of children; replenish supplies as necessary; and customise according to the occasion.
For your convenience, here’s a checklist for a basic first aid kit, plus a short rationale per item:
- Keep a variety of plasters in different sizes and shapes to cover up small wounds.
- Gauze dressings. Sterile medical gauze can also be used to treat wounds. Stock up on the small, medium, and large sizes.
- Non-adherent dressings. These dressings are best used for burns and won’t pierce or stick to the skin.
- Sterile eye dressings. Store at least two sets of sterile pads for eye injuries.
- Triangular bandages. These can be used as conventional bandages or folded and tied to become slings.
- Crêpe-rolled bandages. This type of bandage can be used as additional light support for sprains.
- Skin swabs. These can be used to safely and accurately administer ointment to the skin.
- Disposable sterile gloves. These will ensure sanitation on the part of the first aid responder and cut off risk for infection.
- Stainless steel tweezers. Tweezers, or pointed splinter forceps, can be used for the precise removal of splinters or other debris.
- Stainless steel scissors. Use the scissors to cut off exact lengths from a roll of bandages or to safely open medicine packets.
- Safety pins. Safety pins can be used for additional support to bandages.
- Alcohol-free cleansing wipes. These can be used to wipe wounds and keep the skin area clean before dressing and bandaging.
- This can be used to check one’s temperature for any abnormality. For more accuracy and ease of use, it’s best to supply the digital type.
- Skin rash cream. Varieties such as hydrocortisone or calendula can be applied to itchy and swelling skin, such as when one incurs an insect bite.
- Cough medicine. This is to address recurrent coughing or sore throat.
- Antihistamine cream or tablets. These can be administered if one of you is experiencing an allergy.
- Distilled water. This can be used to clean wounds or to swallow oral medicine in case no other sources of clean water are available.
- Sterile saline tubes or sachets. These can be used to flush debris from one’s eyes or to flush clean water over cuts before dressing.
- Thermal blanket. This can be draped over someone in order to manage their body temperature, and it is especially useful in cases of chill or shock.
- A permanent marker and masking tape. You can use these to label each item in the first aid kit, as well as to tick off an item whenever a part of the inventory has been used up.
- A small first aid instruction manual. Whoever uses the first aid kit can refer to this to see how to use an item properly or how to administer a correct dosage of medicine.
Don’t forget to check the kit regularly to see if some medicines are past their use-by dates or to replenish items that have been used up. You shouldn’t hesitate as well to make more than one kit and to customise each kit for use at home, in the car, in your workplace, while camping, or while travelling to a foreign country. Keep it close at hand everywhere you go so you can swiftly respond to and be of help to those who need emergency assistance.
*This article is for informational purposes only and does constitute, replace, or qualify as RPL for our first aid training courses.