Create a First Aid Kit for Family Safety

Parents have been asking for my aid, I guess you would say “First aid,” in stocking a first aid kit. Let me bandage up those concerns and provide some answers on this topic.

Each year, Emergency Departments see more than 9 million minor injuries. Many of these can be handled at home, assuming you have a first aid kit. (One in the car is a good idea, too.) So what goes into one of these kits?

Any first aid kit should have:

  • a variety of sizes of bandages
  • adhesive tape
  • sterile gauze
  • a cold pack
  • alcohol-based wipes or hand-rubs
  • soap
  • a pair of latex-free rubber gloves
  • ibuprofen
  • acetaminophen
  • an antihistamine for allergies or itchy insect bites
  • hydrocortisone ointment
  • perhaps some calamine lotion for poison ivy and other itchy skin rashes

An autoinjector device of adrenaline is essential for those who are predisposed to have a severe allergic reaction to particular foods or insects. Finally, a thermometer, scissors, tweezers and a flashlight can be helpful.

There should also be a list of emergency numbers inside or near the kit. Those numbers should include the police department, fire department and health care professionals for any and all family members.

It’s also smart to keep immunization records and a mini health-history for each family member, summarizing key medical problems. Consider adding health insurance information and information regarding prescription medications, too. A CPR how-to guide is a good idea; hopefully it will never have to be used.

Families should replace whatever they use in the kit as soon as they’ve used it. Then check for expired medications every few months. You can certainly find first aid kits at the Red Cross or in some stores. Or you can talk to your health care professional and make the kit yourself.

Hopefully tips like these will be just what the doctor ordered when creating a first aid kit for your family.

Lewis First, MD, is chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.  You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and WPTZ Channel 5, or visit the First with Kids video archives at

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