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Tips for Parents: Essential Elements to Include in a First Aid Kit

I am a mom of two sweet boys with another one on the way. I worked in the financial world for five years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.

Be prepared for medical emergencies with the proper supplies in your first aid kit.

Be prepared for medical emergencies with the proper supplies in your first aid kit.

What Should Be in a First Aid Kit?

If you are asking yourself what should I put in my first aid kit, you are well on your way to becoming prepared for a medical emergency. You may just need the basic supplies to bandage up a minor scrape from a fall, or you could just save someone's life by providing them relief until proper medical assistance arrives at the scene. Whatever supplies the situation calls for, make sure your first aid kit is stocked with the essential elements to deal with any kind of medical emergency.

Before having a family of my own, I gave no thought to what should be in a first aid kit. I now understand the importance of being fully prepared. Being a mother to two little boys, I have used it to bandage up countless boo-boos, stopped allergy attacks, and even doctored up a badly burned hand. You can also be prepared for life's unexpected emergencies with the following list of first aid supplies and other helpful tips to maintain your first aid kit.

Test Your First Aid IQ

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What symptom(s) may be associated with breathing problems?
    • Shortness of breath
    • Dizziness
    • Chest pain
    • Rapid pulse
    • Bluish-purple skin color
    • All of the above
  2. What is the first step to treating a burn?
    • Run cold water over the burn.
    • Immediately wrap with gauze.
    • Apply ice packs wrapped in clean cloth.
    • Clean burn with medicated ointment.
  3. Should you try to remove an object protruding from the body?
    • Yes
    • No
  4. How do you treat a sprained ankle?
    • Tightly wrap with elastic bandage.
    • Walk it off.
    • Apply cold, wet compress or cold pack.
    • Immerse in icy water.
  5. Should you apply hot water to a possible case of frostbite?
    • Yes
    • No
  6. What is the first step to take if you suspect poisoning?
    • Make victim drink lots of water.
    • Call National Poison Center or 911.
    • Give victim a pain reliever medicine.
    • Make victim eat food.
  7. What symptom(s) may be associated with shock?
    • Cold, pale, or clammy skin.
    • Unusual weakness or faintness.
    • Rapid, weak pulse.
    • Shallow, irregular breathing.
    • Chills, nausea, or unconsciousness.
    • All of the above.
  8. What body temperature indicates a possible heatstroke?
    • 108 degrees or higher
    • 106 degrees or higher
    • 104 degrees or higher
    • 102 degrees or higher
  9. What should you use to disinfect your first aid tools?
    • Alcohol or soap and water
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Vinegar
    • Lysol
  10. How should you position victims if they have severe bleeding?
    • Have them sit down.
    • Have them lie down.
    • Have them stand up.

Answer Key

  1. All of the above
  2. Apply ice packs wrapped in clean cloth.
  3. No
  4. Apply cold, wet compress or cold pack.
  5. No
  6. Call National Poison Center or 911.
  7. All of the above.
  8. 106 degrees or higher
  9. Alcohol or soap and water
  10. Have them lie down.

First Aid Supplies

When it comes to first aid kits, you have two options: buy one at your local drug store or make your own. I bought the Johnson & Johnson First Aid Kit and found that I had to add a few items to be able to deal with all those unexpected moments that seem to pop up when you have kids. Whether you buy an already prepared kit or make one yourself, be sure you have the following list of first aid supplies in your kit.

First Aid Kit Supplies:

  1. Bandages - Make sure you have plenty of different sized adhesive bandages. These come in handy for cuts and scrapes. The faster you clean and cover the wound, the faster it will heal.
  2. Gauze Pads - These sterile pads are used to apply pressure to stop the bleeding and for covering an open wound without infecting it. My first aid kit came with both 3x3 and 4x4 inch gauze pads.
  3. Rolled Gauze - This sterile wrap is used to secure the gauze pads to an open wound or could be used to wrap up a sprain or other injury.
  4. Cloth Tape - You will need cloth tape to secure the rolled gauze or pads to the open wound.
  5. Antibiotic Ointment - This ointment is needed to protect the wound from potential infections. You can buy this product in a tube, but I suggest the small individual packets to fit inside the first aid kit.
  6. Antiseptic Wipes - These wipes are used to sanitize the infected area. Again, I suggest buying the small individual packets to store and save space in your first aid kit.
  7. Hydrocortisone Ointment - This ointment comes in handy to relieve itching due to skin irritations or rashes. It also helps with insect bites and poison ivy.
  8. Non-latex Gloves - Two pairs of non-latex gloves are needed to prevent germs and infections from spreading. Non-latex are preferred in case anyone has an allergy to latex.
  9. Pain Relievers - It is recommended to have two types of pain relievers in your first aid kit. You will need a couple of packets of both acetaminophen (ex. Tylenol) and ibuprofen (ex. Motrin). If you have children, make sure to have a suitable brand of pain reliever for their age group.
  10. Other Medicines - These medicines are anything your family will need such as upset stomach relievers, allergy medicines, or any prescribed medication if you are traveling away from home.
  11. Eye Wash Solution - This solution is needed to help an irritated or infected eye. It can help to relieve redness and pain associated with allergies or help to remove an irritating object.
  12. Oral Thermometer - It is recommended to carry a non-mercury and non-glass thermometer in your first aid kit to check for potential fevers.
  13. Instant Cold Pack - These packs come in handy with a burn injury or to help with swelling of a sprain or other such injury.
  14. Blanket - It is always a good idea to carry a blanket in your car for warmth, but you can also buy a space blanket or survival wrap to fit in your kit which helps with heat loss, protects from overexposure of the sun, and reflects light to signal rescuers.
  15. Scissors - Make sure to keep a sharp pair of scissors in your kit. This tool will come in handy to cut the cloth tape or to remove pieces of clothing from around a wound.
  16. Tweezers - This tool can help you to remove a splinter or any other small objects such as glass or metal in an open wound. Do not try to remove larger objects. Leave these to medical professionals.
  17. Flashlight - It is smart to carry a flashlight with an extra set of batteries in or near your first aid kit. We carry a small LED light in our kit and a larger flashlight in the trunk of the car. This tool is so important if you must deal with injuries in the dark and also helps to signal rescuers.
  18. CPR Breathing Barrier - It is recommended to carry a one way valve breathing barrier to perform CPR. These barriers come in a plastic or disposable bag form. They help prevent germs or infections from being passed to the victim as well as the person administering CPR.

How to Use Your First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit Supply List

This information was obtained from the American Red Cross website.

SuppliesQuantitySize or Shape

Absorbent Compress Dressings


5x9 in

Adhesive Bandages


assorted shapes and sizes

Adhesive Cloth Tape


10 yds x 1 in roll

Antibiotic Ointment Packets


approx 1 gram each

Antiseptic Wipe Packets


approx 1 gram each

Aspirin Packets


81 mg each




Breathing Barrier


one way valve

First Aid Instruction Booklet



Instant Cold Compress



Non-Latex Gloves



Hydrocortisone Ointment Packets


approx 1 gram each

Roller Bandage


(1) 3 in wide, (1) 4 in wide




Sterile Gauze Pads


(5) 3x3 in wide, (5) 4x4 in wide



non-mercury and non-glass

Triangular Bandage






First Aid Training

If you are looking for first aid training classes, check out the American Red Cross website to locate your local chapter. You can also purchase a variety of fully stocked first aid kits and other medical supplies from this website.

Helpful Tips

The first step to becoming prepared for emergency care is gathering the essential elements to put into your first aid kit. As critical as these supplies are, it is also equally as important to maintain your kit throughout the year. Below are some helpful tips to make sure your kit will be useful in the event of an emergency.

  • Whether you store your first aid supplies in a box or medical bag, make sure the container is durable and one that is easy to carry and open. Remember you will be dealing with an injury, so you don't need to waste time fumbling around trying to find the correct supplies that are needed.
  • If your first aid kit will be used near water, you need to make sure the container is waterproof. The supplies will be useless and non-sterile if they accidentally become wet.
  • To deal with an injury quickly, keep your first aid kit where it is easily accessible by an adult. Make sure it is a place that young children can't reach or the first aid kit could possibly be the cause of your next emergency.
  • If you buy a first aid kit from the store, be sure to read through the first aid manual. This manual has some basic but very valuable information about dealing with certain kind of injuries. It's also a good place to jot down those emergency phone numbers you will need in the event of a life threatening situation.
  • You should check your first aid kit at least 4 times a year. A good rule of thumb is to take stock of your inventory every 3 months and purchase more supplies if needed. You also need to check the expiration dates to make sure all medicines will be useful in your time of need.

First Aid Kit Poll

First Aid Kit Contents

When preparing a first aid kit, the contents should be customized to fit the needs of your family. For example, additional medicines or first aid supplies may be needed if a family member has a medical condition such as diabetes. You should also take in consideration the type of trip you will be taking. If you will be outdoors for an extended period of time, you may need to add more survival items such as a flare or knife. Taking the time to create a proper kit with all the essential elements will help to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

I hope this guide has been helpful in preparing your first aid kit. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave these in the section provided below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Paul on June 29, 2020:

Thanks for sharing the blog with an informative content. Keep sharing more related advance first aid services. We are also having same type of services. We love to read about it.

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Paul on October 13, 2019:

Thanks for sharing the blog with an informative content.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 30, 2015:

Alissa, excellent hub on first aids kits with all the right elements. Congrats on Editor's Choice. Voted up!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on June 20, 2012:

So happy to hear that you found this information to be helpful in creating your first aid kit! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment!

Sheetal bhati on June 19, 2012:

It's really a fantastic job to give a beautful and easy understandable information.i am the student through ur help i can able to make my first aid kit.i really want to thnx with my heart...bye

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 28, 2012:

Thanks CWanamaker! So happy to hear you say that! I hope to be prepared in any situation but I am sure my two little boys will teach me something else that I need to add to the kit in the future :) Appreciate you stopping by and for the kind comments!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 28, 2012:

Thanks so much case1worker! It's so easy to leave something out of your first aid kit. Hopefully others will find this as a handy guide to solve that problem. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

Christopher Wanamaker from Arizona on April 28, 2012:

Wow, What a Great hub. This is very detailed and thorough.

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on April 28, 2012:

Fantastic hub- pointing out the things that most of us miss when assembling a first aid kit

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 26, 2012:

Thanks so much povmang! Happy to hear this hub will be useful to others! Appreciate your visit and for your kind comment!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 26, 2012:

Thanks so much MarleneB! It is so vital to check the kit. I actually discovered I was out of an item when I was going through it to write this hub. Appreciate you stopping by and for your kind comments!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 26, 2012:

Thanks so much Linda! I am so glad you brought that up - definitely got to be prepared for the health and safety of a pet. Appreciate you stopping by and sharing!

Pov from phnom penh on April 26, 2012:

after stopping by your hub, I found that it's really a good source for people over the world.In Cambodia, we have small one that can help slightly injury at home,work or at the remote area.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on April 26, 2012:

I love how organized your first aid kit guide is. Plus, you give such wonderful side tips like, checking the kit every three months. Lots of valuable information here.

Linda Liebrand from San Francisco on April 26, 2012:

It sounds like you and I have gone through the same exercise putting our first aid kits together - you've tailored yours towards your kids and I have added a couple of items to suit our dog! Really useful and interesting info. Voted up and shared.

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 25, 2012:

Oh yes got to get the ointment and painkillers in there. Don't know how many times I have been out and about and had a killer headache and was relieved to find this medicine in our car first aid kit. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Simone!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 25, 2012:

Hmm... looks like I'm missing a bunch of things form my personal kit! I'm glad I've read this Hub. Clearly I need to get my hands on some antibiotic ointment and painkillers.

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 24, 2012:

Hi teaches12345! You are absolutely right - having this kind of first aid kit in severe weather areas is a must. Thankfully we don't have many tornadoes in our area. Thanks so much for always stopping by - you always make my day with your sweet comments! Appreciate the vote up!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 24, 2012:

Aww thanks Kelley! Makes me feel good that an RN approves the list. I was worried about leaving something important off the list but you have eased my fears! Appreciate you stopping by and for the kind comments!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 24, 2012:

Hi theclevercat! Actually writing this hub and going through my box let me know I needed to go buy some more neosporin. Better get that quick before we go on vacation this summer. Thanks so much for your visit, the votes, and for sharing!

Alissa Roberts (author) from Normandy, TN on April 24, 2012:

Thanks so much thebookmom! So happy to hear to that this hub will be useful to others. Appreciate you stopping by and for your kind comments!

Dianna Mendez on April 24, 2012:

I would recommend a first aid kit like this for those in severe weather areas, such as tornadoes. Your suggestion to check it throughout the year is another important point. Great hub topic with valuable lifesaving information. Voted up.

kelleyward on April 24, 2012:

Fabulous job on this hub! As an RN I believe it is very important to keep First Aid kits on hand. Thanks for sharing this useful information! Take care, Kelley

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on April 24, 2012:

Excellent list! All my first aid supplies are strewn around the house and this reminds me to get them into one place. Voted up, useful, tweeting, and Google+!

thebookmom from Nebraska on April 24, 2012:

Great Job. Your list is really complete and really easy to read and use. What an awesome resource.

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