Every home, with or without kiddos, needs a first aid kit. Especially now that summer is upon us. You’ll also need some first aid kit rules:
- You need one first aid kit inside your home and one in each family vehicle.
- No one messes with the first aid kit unless it’s an emergency. You should supply your kids or the household with some other first aid supplies (bandages, spray antiseptic and so on) that’s available for day-to-day use.
- Update the first aid kit once a year. Check the kit for expired medications and anything else you may be out of.
- The most important thing in your first aid kit is contact. On the very off-chance that you don’t already carry a cell phone, put a pre-paid one in the first aid kit in the car. You need to be able to contact help.
- The second most important item in your kit is knowledge. If you have kids you should always take an infant and child CPR/first aid class, but even if you do this you’ll still need a first aid booklet in your kit that covers both adult and infant/child CPR. Your local Red Cross will likely give you one for free. If you don’t have a booklet, it’s hard to know what to do in an emergency; EVEN if you’ve taken a first aid & CPR class. Trust me, I went to college for nursing plus have taken dozens of first aid classes but when my own son gets hurt I still lose my cool and forget stuff.
- Bandages of varying sizes. If you have a little one under the age of five, make sure some are tiny for baby-sized cuts.
- 4″ x 4″ sterile gauze pads – these are great for both cleaning and covering wounds, or god forbid can act as a soft eye patch for an eye injury.I actually like to have some bigger and smaller gauze pads in my kit, but 4″ x 4″ is a good general size.
- 2″, 3″ and 4″ wrap (ACE-like) bandages – used for wrapping sprained or strained joints, for wrapping around gauze used on wounds, for wrapping around splints and lots of other first aid stuff.
- First aid tape.
- A pair of fine gauge tweezers for removing splinters or a tick.
- Some hand wipes in packages – this is the only time I’m going to recommend single use items by the way. If you can’t find water, these are good for cleaning off a cut in a pinch.
- Reusable gel packs – cold and warm.
- Exam gloves – non-latex for both protection from infection and in a pinch can be made into cold or ice packs if filled with water.
- Nonadhesive pads (Telfa) – for covering stinging wounds and burns – regular gauze will stick.
- A biodegradable garbage bag – in case you end up with contaminated bandages and gloves.
- Safety pins of varying size – can help you secure a bandage sling.
- Rubbing alcohol.
- Pocket mask for CPR – usually necessary only in your travel first aid kit (i.e. the one in the car).
Medicinal supplies for your first aid kit – NOTE not everyone has the same medicinal needs, however at the very least you should have the following in your first aid kit…
- Some sort of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) for fever and pain reduction. Ibuprofen for infants/ kids and adults is a typical good drug to have on hand. You’ll also need aspirin, but for adults only. Babies and children should not have asprin ever as it’s a Reye’s Syndrome risk factor. Also note, aspirin thins the blood so never give it to a bleeding adult.
- Acetaminophen for all ages – i.e. acetaminophen for infant/child and one for adults. This drug will reduce pain and fever but not inflammation. Some folks can’t stomach ibuprofen though, so it’s good to have acetaminophen on hand.
- Diphenhydramine – provides relief from many types of allergic reactions. antihistamines rock for another reason too because they double up as an excellent nausea medication.
- Eye drops – this one is semi-optional. I think it’s smart to have in a kit though. As an alternative consider a little dropper that can be filled with sterile water in a pinch to rinse your eye.
- DON’T FORGET – extra medicine droppers and little measurement cups.
AND… a quick word about essential oils. I actually do believe in organic essential oils for first aid around the house instead of harsher medications. However, essential oils are not as good in emergencies in my opinion. If you include essential oils in your first aid kit, I’d still also include the medications above. Also, essential oil know-how is vast. You need to research organic essential oils and speak to an expert about them before using them. To learn more read:
Green your first aid kit
Not everything you need in a first aid kit is available in a more eco-friendly form but many of the items are. The first thing you’ll need is a water-proof and recyclable, eco-friendly box or bag for storing your first aid kit items in.
Some people suggest water-proof bags or containers for only on-the-go first aid kits, but in my experience even kits inside can be exposed to water so I suggest water-proof no matter what. This is one of those times you’ll see me actually recommend plastic – it’s more important to keep your first aid supplies dry then it is to try and find an eco-friendly container. That said, you do actually have some eco-friendly first aid kit storage options (and they won’t cost you much either)!
- Smart Store with Handle – Recycled Plastic by Snapware – 6 x 13.5 x 9.5 – The Smart Store containers are made from recycled plastic so they are eco-friendly, as well as light weight yet strong and long lasting. The lid features easy to open and close latches that keep the lid tightly secure and the contents safe from dust, moisture, and pests and a handle for easy carrying.
- Smart Store with Handle – Recycled Plastic by Snapware – 6 x 15.5 x 11.5
If the two sizes above aren’t to your liking, there are many more Snapware recycled plastic bin options available.
Other eco-friendly first aid goods….
- Kids Bandages from All Terrain Company or for adults All Terrain Ecoguard Bandages both types are latex free, 100% sterile absorbent, non-stick pads – No animal testing – Made with recycled/ recyclable PVC plastic, water-based adhesive (not alcohol-based) and natural food-grade coloring.
- All Terrain Company, Latex Free Gauze Roll Bandage and Latex Free Gauze Pads.
- Wounded Warrior All Natural Topical Ointment
- All Terrain Company, Antiseptz Gel
- For applying antiseptic get certified organic cotton pads.
- Ditch The Itch Cream – relieves irritated skin associated with rashes insect bites poison ivy and poison oak. Toxic free and biodegradable plus recycled packaging.
Wally’s Itch-Away Oil – all-natural blend of herbs, oils, aloe vera, and vitamin E used to help relieve topical skin irritations.
- You can also take a look at Herbal Roots Eco-First Aid Kit which comes with nine organic and wildcrafted herbal remedies for minor & major traumas and some other first aid necessities.
*MAJOR SAFETY NOTE: The above is advice only. Before taking any medication you should talk it over with your health care provider. In fact, it’s smart to mention that you’re making a first aid kit so your provider can suggest family specific medications.