Years ago, I was caught short and didn’t have my first aid kit when I needed it. Luckily someone else had one for me to use. Since then I make sure I have a kit in my car. Thankfully I do because in the last fortnight I have stopped at 2 minor roadside incidents and patched up 3 other children (none of my own). Lastly as I write this, I have had to pause because my son just came home from a swimming lesson to proudly present me with his chin split open!! What are the chances?!
Usually when I do pull out my first aid kit I get at least 1 comment along the lines of “I always meant to get a first aid kit” or “I have one at home, I should put one in my car” not to mention “I wouldn’t know what to do with it even if I had one.” To all of these comments I say, be prepared as I am evidence that you will never know when you need first aid supplies. Even if you don’t know how to use it there might be someone there that does. Like many I used to have my first aid supplies at home, but when I thought about it, when I am home my car is too.....
So, a car is a GREAT place to have your first aid supplies.
I understand that for many people it can be daunting choosing a first aid kit. There are so many to choose from, not to mention they can be pricey, and so it gets put in the too hard basket. Today I wanted to make the process easier for you all by telling you my must have items for a basic first aid kit. This gives you the flexibility of buying a kit with these items or putting one together yourself which is a very cost-effective way to go and allows you to buy better quality than in some ready-made first aid kits. If you need a more specialised kit for hiking or camping then this can still be used as a base to build from.
My must have items:
Container: Obviously you need something for your items to go in. A commercial kit will have a nifty container. But you can use a plastic food container, or my fav, a soft packing cell which is easy to fit under a seat or in a glove box. I like being able to see all I have in my kit at once. It drives me crazy having to open up lots of zips and compartments in the commercial kits to find the one item I need. So, if you opt for a commercial kit please make sure you know where everything is before you need it!
Gloves: The first rule of First Aid protect yourself first. Always wear gloves when providing first aid especially if body fluids are present. Know where your gloves are, I keep a pair in my glove compartment as well.
CPR Mask/Shield: See above…. If you do not have a mask remember providing compression only CPR is better than doing nothing. I have a mask in my kit and on my keyring.
Gauze: Used to stop bleeding and clean wounds. I am amazed at how many standard kits do not come with gauze!
Bandage: Ideally this should be a good quality bandage (a crepe at a minimum) in several different sizes. Often the quality of bandages in ready-made first aid kits aren’t great meaning it is hard to get a good compression and the fall to pieces easily. Bandages can be used for compression to stop bleeding, to support a limb injury, to hold a dressing in place, for snake bites, to splint a limb or as a tourniquet. I love a multipurpose item!
Triangular bandage: Another multipurpose item, don’t be afraid of a triangular bandage/sling! Many people find triangular bandages a bit confusing but they can be used in place of gauze to stop bleeding, to splint limbs together or as a sling.
Tape/Hyperfix: Most first aid kits come with micropore tape which is fine for taping a bandage in place of perhaps holding a dressing in place for a short time as long as it’s not near a joint. However, I prefer hyperfix which as the suggests is a very sticky tape. It comes in various sizes and can be cut to size depending on the purpose. It is fantastic teamed with a non-stick dressing and if you are a dressmaker then you can cut a slit in it to make a dart allowing movements over joints. Hyperfix has to be one of my most used item.
Non-stick dressing/pads: To put on grazes and wounds and cover burns while you go to seek medical help. Remember wounds like to be kept covered so they can heal in a warm and moist environment. A variety of sizes works well
Bandaids: These always come in handy. However if you ever run out or a bandaid isn’t big enough for the job then your non-stick dressing and hyperfix does the same job!
Ice pack: An instant icepack is great to start RICE treatment or for a bruise.
Scissors: To cut tape, dressings and bandages to size.
Tweezers: For splinters or even to remove stings.
Saline: To clean wounds and flush eyes
Plastic bags: Great to help clean up used items and worst case store any amputated digits. Could even be used to store an adult tooth in the person’s saliva.
Survival blanket: To help keep someone warm in case of shock.
A notepad and pen: To make notes or take down details of people is needed.
A first aid manual rounds all of this off nicely. There are even apps such as the Allens Training App which is like having a first aid manual on your mobile. As I mentioned this list works as a great base to build more specialised kits for camping, hiking, sports teams etc.
My first aid kit has been used so much over the last year that I always make sure it is in my car. People are always saying to me how lucky it was that I was there. But in reality, often the only extra things that I have is a first aid kit and a bit of confidence. Those are two things that anyone can easily get by doing a first aid course for confidence and following this guide to ensure you have the basic equipment on hand should the need ever arise. I hope you have found this list helpful and put “getting a first aid kit” on your to do list. I would love to hear from you if you would like me to help you have the confidence to use your first aid kit by doing a course. In the meantime, I am off to restock my kit thanks to my son’s accident today!!