A standard first aid kit is a great thing to have but may not suit all of your needs. Certainly, a general first aid kit is good for minor cuts and superficial wounds. Bandages, gauze, dressings, and tape are great to have handy to patch those nicks and scratches. Dressings do keep away dirt and help hold a cut together for speedier healing.
Tailor your first aid kit to the location, activity and anticipate your needs. For instance, at the lake, it’s a good idea to have an oral antihistamine and perhaps a topical steroid for allergic reactions to bites. An anti-inflammatory for sunburns – oral and topical? A tick removal kit to quickly and safely remove any ticks. It can be a good idea to include a list of current medications and allergies for all family members. Your pharmacist can provide up-to-date medication and allergy lists and help prepare a kit that makes sense for your family.
Does your kit need to be portable? Easy to grab and take away? Even the container should be considered. Does it need to be waterproof and highly visible? What about where to put it, protected from heat, but easy to spot? Don’t forget to make sure everyone knows where it is. Get in the habit of showing your guests where the washroom is (of course), and where the first aid kit is!
When do you think you may need it? Perhaps a flashlight should also be close by? Tip, store batteries in their original package or a separate Ziploc bag next to your flashlight.
What about first aid kits for sports? Definitely an instant cold pack and tensor bandages for sprains, a splint, cloth/ties/triangular bandages to stabilize breaks.
Where should you have a first aid kit? Basic locations would be your car and home. You may also have a specific kit for hiking, camping, sports, or other outdoor activities. What you need in your kit can also vary by season. If you’re stranded in winter – do you have a candle, matches, and a blanket in the car?
Don’t overpack kits that need to be carried around – you don’t want a kit that is too bulky or heavy to carry. Try to anticipate and carry what is truly needed. So instead of a bottle of liquid, perhaps pills instead? For a wound wash, an empty bottle to get clean water?
Try to anticipate injuries and emergencies for yourself and your family. It’s best to add extra items to a first aid kit to customize it to your family’s needs. Get your family, even the kids to help plan your kits – it is a smart way to get everyone to know what to do in the event of an injury.
Final tip, don’t forget to check your first aid kit at least annually, to refresh and remove any expired items (even batteries). It’s a good idea to label the front of your first aid kit with an expiration/check required date.