There should be at least one first aid kit in every home. There are first aid kits available in stores but they do not always have all the essentials you may need from time to time. You can always consider the readymade kits or you can make one yourself. The latter lets you personalize the first aid kit depending on your needs and what you may perceive as possible emergencies you will have to deal with. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you put together the best first aid kit for your home.
The first requisite is the box or container. It is not necessary for you to choose the typical metal or plastic box that you find in the stores. You can use a sizeable zipper closure or plastic container that is water resistant. You can choose a translucent one if you would want the essentials inside to be visible and easily identifiable. You can use an old lunchbox too. If you are aiming for a large first aid kit, you could use a duffel bag or backpack. No matter what you choose, it should be durable as you may have to handle the container roughly during emergencies. Do not opt for a container that would be difficult to carry or include in your luggage. Choose a container that would not be an issue at security checks of airports and other places.
You should clearly mark the container, box or bag as first aid kit. You can write the very words or you can draw a red cross. Use permanent markers and not colors that would fade. You may have more than one first aid kit, especially if you require different kinds of essentials to be kept handy for the distinct needs of your loved ones. You may want to use different types of containers or you must use appropriate labels to distinguish the two kits. Do not choose any container that complicates access. Keep the kit somewhere you can easily access. People tend to forget where their first aid kit is when one needs it the most. Always keep the kit at the same place.
Let us now talk about the essentials for your first aid kit. You would need bandages. Do not opt for only one type. Have different sizes and varying qualities including materials as injuries are not identical. You would need gauze pads, adhesive tape, sterile dressings, roller or ace bandage, cutting bandage, small but sharp scissors, non latex gloves, tweezers, oral thermometer, cotton balls & swabs, instant cold compress, hand sanitizer, wipes and medical tools based on the specific needs of a family. A first aid kit may have eye protection gear, warming blanket, duct tape, aluminum finger splint, sewing needles, petroleum jelly, safety pins, gels and lotions, laxatives, medicines for diarrhea, antihistamines, antacids, hydrocortisone cream, pain relievers, medicine for cough & cold and epi-pen for allergies.
A first aid kit can be solely about health or it can include essentials for other possible emergencies. Your first aid kit can have batteries, a flashlight or two, waterproof matches, crank or solar charger, insect repellant, sunscreen, poison control, important phone numbers, whistle, a medical consent form and other stuffs that you think are important. It is not necessary to include these essentials in the medical first aid kit. You can always have a separate kit. Some people keep a stocked toolbox that has batteries, flashlights and other such useful items.
A distinction should be made between different types of first aid kits that you may need at distinct times. For instance, a travel first aid kit is not as inclusive as the one you may have at your home. A camping first aid kit needs some more relevant items, especially if you are planning to indulge in some adventurous activity. A survival first aid kit is a completely different premise. You would have to stock up on water, food and many other essentials and these are not the ordinary goods that you must and can restock every few weeks. They should have a longer shelf life. In any case every first aid kit needs to be timely restocked, mostly medicines as they should never be consumed past their expiry date.
It is futile to have a first aid kit if you cannot easily find it and use the items you need. It is also futile if most members of your family are untrained and unfamiliar with the first aid kit. You should ensure that all adults are aware of what is in the first aid kit. It is not uncommon for only one person in the family to know every item in the kit and hence others cannot help themselves in her or his absence. Also, some tools would need specific training. Adhesive bandages are rather easy. Wrapping a bandage or attending to a bleeding wound is a different task and one has to be handheld the first few times.
Kids should be made aware of what they can find in the first aid kit but they should not have unmonitored access to medicines and the tools. Kids can unknowingly harm themselves with scissors and other sharp tools. They may also consume medicines and topical medications that should never be ingested. Keep first aid kits away from very young kids but gradually help to become familiar with the various items.