The Family First Aid KitUS Family Health Plan urges every household to have a well-stocked first aid kit that is accessible to all adult family members over 12. This kit can be used to treat minor home accidents, an can often make a critical difference with major emergencies, before medical assistance is available.
Household accidents are unpredictable and can happen at any time, so it’s important to be prepared. Preparation means having a first aid kit in the home, the kit being accessible to key family members and each family member having a basic knowledge of its contents and how to use them. First aid kits are a necessity when it comes to falls, insect stings, burns and allergic reactions.
Building a good first aid kit is simple and inexpensive to do. Just place some clearly labeled basic items in a small container and store in a safe but accessible place. The container can be just a plastic tub, tool kit or tote bag. Keep one in your medicine cabinet at home, making sure it’s out of young children’s reach. (It’s always a good idea to have one in your car as well.) Make sure your kit also contains a basic first aid manual and a list of key emergency medical numbers for your primary physician, your local hospital or health clinic and US Family Health plan.
- Adhesive bandages
- Sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches and 4 x 3 inches)
- A roll of gauze
- Eye shield or pad
- Adhesive tape
- Elastic bandage (3 to 4 inches wide for wrapping wrist, elbow, ankle and knee injuries)
- Triangular bandages (for wrapping injuries and making arm slings
- Sterile cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
- Latex gloves (These should be worn any time you may be at risk of contact with blood or body fluid of any type.)
- Instant cold pack
- At least 5 safety pins (to easily fasten splints and bandages)
- Aluminum finger splint
- Tweezers (to remove ticks, insect stingers and small splinters)
- Scissors for cutting gauze
- Hand sanitizer (liquid and/or wipes)
Remember to also include over the counter treatments and remedies for minor cuts and injuries:
- Antiseptic solution or wipes, such as hydrogen peroxide, povidone-iodine (one brand name: Betadine) or chlorhexidine (one brand name: Betasept)
- Antibiotic ointment (brand names: Neosporin, Bactroban) that contain ingredients such as bacitracin or mupirocin
- Sterile eyewash or saline, such as contact lens saline solution
- Calamine lotion for stings or poison ivy
- Hydrocortisone cream, ointment or lotion for itching
Keep in mind any special need of specific family members that require special attention. Special conditions could include insect allergies, food allergies or asthma. Consult with your physician about what you need to have on hand in the event of an emergency and include these items in our home and auto kits. Also be sure to check your kit every six months to make sure you have all of your necessary supplies and that none of your supplies have expired or become too old to use.
If you prefer, you can purchase a fully stocked first aid kit from the Red Cross or your local drug store. Red Cross also offers a first aid course. Many good first aid manuals can be found online. But it’s just as easy to save money by building your own kit, which allows you to take your family’s special needs into account.
Hopefully you will never have need for your household first aid kit. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to young children. US Family Plan believes in taking every possible step to ensure the health and safety of you and your family. We want you to be prepared.