As a parent, you know firsthand that accidents happen. Bumps, bites, scrapes and bruises can occur at any time, whether you're at the playground, the pool or a friend's barbecue.
Minor medical emergencies are par for the parenting course, so it's wise to prepare yourself for the inevitable. Having the right first-aid supplies on hand means you can avoid surprises and ensure your child finds relief quickly.
You can build your own first aid kit in four steps, using high-quality supplies found at your local drugstore.
Four steps to build your own first-aid kit
A well-stocked first-aid kit can give you peace of mind as a parent. You'll know that you have the right supplies readily available to protect and treat your child's minor injuries.
Step 1: Clean
Carry a filled water bottle so you have a reliable way to flush out a cut. Pack tweezers to remove dirt, debris and splinters.
A saline solution is also good for wound care because it will not burn or sting your child. Include a spray, solution or towelettes that contain an antiseptic solution like hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the area.
Step 2: Treat
Next you need to supplies that will help you reduce infection and promote healing.
Keep hydrocortisone cream on-hand to reduce redness, itching and swelling related to bug bites, poison ivy and allergies. A topical antibiotic is also an important first-aid kit essential and prevents bacterial growth.
You'll need sterile cotton balls or swabs to apply these ointments and avoid infecting the wound. Non-latex plastic gloves are also a must to protect your hands and to prevent infecting your child while you cover his or her wounds.
Step 3: Cover
Your DIY first-aid kit should include adhesive bandages, wrap and gauze pads in several sizes and types (waterproof, breathable, easy-to-remove).
Step 4: Secure
Keep scissors in your kit to make sure you can trim dressings to the right size and open packages. Adhesive tape will make sure bandages stay put.
If you aren't sure if your child needs emergency care, take them to a doctor.
Additional first-aid kit items
Every first-aid kit should also include:
- A list of emergency phone numbers
- An up-to-date first aid manual
- Extra prescription medicines such as an inhaler for asthma and allergies
- Pain relief medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- An oral syringe and medicine spoon
- An ice pack or heat pack to apply to bruises and sprains
- Sunblock with an SPF 30 to 50
How to build your DIY first-aid kit
Find a container for your kit. You can use a backpack, plastic storage box, packing cube, lunch box or even a tackle box.
Tape an inventory list inside the lid of your first-aid kit so that you can keep track of important items. Note expiration dates and be sure to immediately replace items as they are used up. Clearly label the container with a large red cross symbol to indicate that it's a first-aid kit.