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First Aid Kit

Q: Where should I keep a first aid kit and what should I put in it?

Dr. Donnica:
Ideally, keep one in the kitchen-out of reach of children-and one in the trunk of each car. If you have a two story house, you may want to keep one upstairs and downstairs. If you purchase a commercially available first aid kit, open it after purchase and see what's really in there; you may need to add certain items. Be sure to keep kits in waterproof containers.

What should your handy first aid kit include?

Routine first aid products:

  • a chemically activated hot/cold pack
  • topical antibiotic cream (such as Neosporin® or Bacitracin ®) with or without topical anesthetic
  • various sizes of bandages
  • gauze, preferably absorbent and non-stick
  • adhesive tape
  • wound cleanser (e.g. hydrogen peroxide or Betadine ®)
  • skin cleanser (e.g. alcohol wipes, perfume-free diaper wipes).
  • Other medicines:

  • pain medicines (such as Tylenol ®, chewable Tylenol if you have children, aspirin, ibuprofen
  • If you have children: syrup of Ipecac (to make them vomit if they've ingested poison or medicines they shouldn't have taken)
  • hydrocortisone cream (great for insect bites, poison ivy, allergic reactions)
  • any emergency prescription medicine you or your family members might need, e.g. epinephrine for someone with a severe allergy or heart medicines for someone with angina.
  • a small flashlight (with working batteries)
  • tweezers (for removing splinters or other foreign bodies from skin)
  • small scissors
  • a medicine spoon if you have small children
  • a card with the names, phone numbers, and addresses of all family physicians (and dentists) and insurance information (including the social security number of the insured family members). It's also handy to have this information posted on your refrigerator (communications central for most families) or by the telephone. If you have children and rely on babysitters occasionally or routinely, you may also want to include a notarized card giving your babysitter permission to authorize medical treatment for your child in the event of an emergency. If your babysitter drives your children, you may also want her to have a copy of this form and keep one in the glove compartment of your car.
  • a few quarters and a prepaid calling card (for emergency pay phone calls-even if you have a cell phone, it could malfunction); even if you're at home, your phone may be down or you may be in an evacuation situation.
  • emergency cash. Again, even if this is your home first aid kit, you may be in an evacuation situation. In the car, this often comes in very handy. You can decide what amount you feel comfortable with. A general recommendation is an amount to cover one day's food and lodging for you and your family. If you have a credit card, it's also a good idea to keep your credit card number, expiration date and bank telephone number in the first aid kit too (or, a xerox copy of front and back of the card, or a duplicate card).

  • Created: 9/24/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

     If you purchase a commercially available first aid kit, open it after purchase and see what’s really in there; you may need to add certain items. 

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