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What to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Home and Travel

August 1, 2023

Little emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. So, it’s important to have a first aid kit that’s properly stocked, ready at a moment’s notice, and can travel with your family wherever you go.

“Keep it simple,” says Brian Kelly, emergency medical technician at Atlantic Health System. “Minor cuts, scrapes, splinters, and bug bites are what a first aid kit is designed for — clean it, dress it, and get back to enjoying your vacation.”

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Watch: Here's What to Pack in Your First Aid Kit

Stocking Your First Aid Kit

There are plenty of websites and retailers that offer pre-packaged first aid kits. But there’s no need to purchase one when you probably have most of these items in your home. Here’s a starting point for creating your own customized kit that will meet your family’s needs. Select an appropriate storage container, label it clearly as a First Aid Kit, and designate a storage spot so adults and older children know where it is. Here are a few essentials to start.

  • Assorted bandages of varied sizes
  • A roll of cloth adhesive tape
  • Sterile gauze pads (4” x 4”)
  • Elastic bandage
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Medicated ointment
  • Tweezers

Consider a ‘Second’ Aid Kit

If you want to go beyond the basics, Brian Kelly explains that a Second Aid Kit is a great idea for car trips and travel. It includes household items that may be useful in a pinch. Here are some items you may want to consider having on hand — wherever you are.

  • Scissors
  • Cotton balls/swabs
  • Instant cold compress
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cough Drops
  • Thermometer

Some Handy Extras

If you’re travelling by air, make sure you’re familiar with the restrictions on how to pack liquids and gels. Depending on where you’re going, here are a few more essentials that might come in handy.

  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Backup phone charger/power bank

What About Medications?

Don’t put prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines such as cold medicines, antihistamines, or pain relievers in the kit. It’s better to leave these products in their original packaging, keeping them safely stored and separate. Here are a few tips to help you manage medications.

  • Store medications, first aid kits and medical supplies out of the reach of small children.
  • Pick the same date each year to annually toss and replenish outdated medications.
  • Create an information card with your family physicians’ contact information.
  • Provide written instructions for babysitters or family members if needed.

“If a true medical emergency arises while you’re traveling within the United States, dial 9-1-1, and if you’re traveling abroad, know the universal emergency number for that country,” says Brian. “A first aid kit is just for minor issues. Any serious medical problem such as chest pain, seizures, excessive bleeding, or a life-threatening situation, requires immediate professional medical help.”

Be Proactive About Your Health

To stay safe and healthy, it's good to have a primary care provider who knows and understands your health history and wellness goals.

  • Healthy Living