How to Choose a Pre-Made First Aid Kit Leave a comment

No matter your needs, there’s a first aid kit on the market that will serve you well. If you’re a parent of a newborn, for example, you need a kit fitted to an infant’s needs. It would include items to treat croup, earaches, tummy aches, and teething symptoms. If you have pets, you want an entirely different first aid kit with products to remove ticks and treat sore paws.

Hikers and campers have different medical requirements. You spend your time in rugged terrain, which increases your risk for falls and sprains. And if you travel in groups, you may need to purchase a larger first aid kit. For solo adventurers, a smaller, lightweight kit could serve you best.

If you regularly commute  or take road trips it’s smart to get a car first aid kit that contains flares, jumper cables, water, and food. Those who live in areas with snowy weather should add a blanket and other winter safety items to the kit.

When evaluating or making a first aid kit, focus on the essentials. The following list isn’t exhaustive, but it covers many of the basic products found in first aid kits. If your kit is missing any of these must-haves be sure to add them separately.

  • Splints or wraps
  • Gauze pad packs
  • Medical tape
  • Bandages (adhesive bandages, triangular bandage, etc.) 
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Antibiotic ointment or antiseptic wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Aspirin
  • Scissors

There are some optional items you may want to consider too:

  • Insect bite cream
  • Medical tape
  • CPR mask
  • Cold pack
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Emergency blanket

Each item in a first aid kit comes with guidelines for use. Read these to prevent allergic reactions and other maladies. Many first aid kits also come with an instruction book or recommend attending a first aid class.

Reading the book and attending the class are excellent ideas, but if you face an emergency before you do this, use the five tips below. They can help you take immediate action and keep everyone safe.

  1. Keep the kit in a central location. Keep your first aid kit in an easy-to-access and known location—for adults, not kids—within your home or vehicle.
  2. Examine the active ingredients. Some drugs react poorly with other medications or contain ingredients that could cause a rash. Make sure your products, such as aspirin, are safe for use.
  3. Look for indications of use. Every medication, ice pack, and other first aid item includes indications for use. Follow them to ensure a bandage doesn’t stick to a wound.
  4. Follow the directions. Kids under age twelve usually require smaller doses of medications. Read the directions carefully so you don’t over-medicate.
  5. Remember the expiration dates. Antibiotic cream and other first aid items come with expiration dates. Typically, they lose effectiveness after this date, so make sure you’re aware of when to replace these products. This is particularly important if you’re storing prescription medications. Nitro (for someone with heart disease), for example, should be replaced every six months because it degrades and won’t work as well.
  6. Keep it cool. Some medications, like insulin, need to be kept cool. If you are storing your emergency kit in the garage or in the trunk of your car there might be an issue.
  7. Don’t use vaseline or antibiotic ointment for burns. It can trap the heat in and continue the burn if the burn is new and intense. Aloe is best.
  8. Nix the aspirin for kids. It’s not recommended that young children (infants through school-age) take aspirin, especially if you don’t know if they’ve recently had a viral illness. Children taking aspirin can develop Reyes syndrome, which can be fatal. 

These best first aid kit recommendations fit a variety of lifestyles, so you’re sure to find one—or pair a couple—that will help you soothe ouchies for every member of the crew (furry ones included!).

With the kits recommended and advice given here, you’ll be ready for any emergency. Scraped chins and sprained ankles have nothing on you thanks to your pre-made first aid kit.

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