First Aid Kit

Creating a first aid kit is easier than you think. You don't need to be a nurse or doctor to put one together. There are a few things you need to keep in mind while putting a kit together. These things can be grouped into five categories: Environment, Protection, Trauma, Medical and Hardware.

Environment | Consider Where You Are Going

When preparing a first aid kit while vacationing, consider the location you are traveling to and planned activities to determine what supplies are needed. By doing this, you can consider possible injuries that are unique to the location, and needed supplies that might aid in evacuation, in case injuries are severe or life-threatening.

You'll need a carrying case for the first aid kit. Your kit should be organized, waterproof, easily accessible and user-friendly. Determine where the kit will be stored, or who will be responsible for carrying it. The carrying case should have compartments and Ziploc bags in various sizes to store things in. And of course, you will need to make sure that the kit is in a watertight case, and that you have a way to carry it usefully, such as a fanny pack, etc.

Protection | Things to Include in Your First Aid Kit

In an easily accessible place in the kit you should place gloves (vinyl or latex, with 2 to 4 pairs per person), and a CPR mask or shield.

Trauma | Things to Include in Your First Aid Kit

This is probably the most practical part of the kit. This part of the kit is referring to all the nasty injuries that can crop up at a moment's notice, and the supplies you are going to need to take care of it. In it you need to compile, properly assorted and organized:

Bandages - 3 or 4" stretchy, self-adhering rollergauze. Include 1-2 per person.

Band-Aids - Bandage with an attached dressing, also self-adhering. Pack 6-8 per person.

Dressings - Multiple sizes of sterile gauze bandages. At least 2-4 per person.

Non-Stick Gauze Pads - Dressing for wounds, very necessary. Include 2-4 per person.

General-Purpose Gauze Pads - These have many uses, and vary in padding and absorbency, making them chief in versatility. If you only choose one type of gauze pads, these are the way to go. Pack 4-6 per person.

Combine and Trauma Dressing - These high-absorbency padded dressings are very useful and should be bought in the larger sizes, enough for 1-2 per person.

Occlusive Dressings - These are a necessity to keep wounds dry in a wet environment. Include 1-2 per person.

Tape - Extremely necessary item, and 1 roll of 1" cloth is recommended.

Duct and Packaging Tape - These tapes are great for helping to secure bandages and dressings; 20-30' is good. Note: One trick of the trade is that instead of taking up room with a roll of each kind, you can tape it around water bottles, ski poles, lighters and many other items, to conserve room yet stay prepared.

Medical | Things to Include in Your First Aid Kit

Many medicinal supplies are necessary for a first aid kit. First for this category is wound cleansing.

Iodine - Useful in cleaning wounds and preventing infection. It is most practical in Povidine Iodine presoak pads.

It is also good to bring one form of wound disinfectant other than iodine, since some people are allergic to its properties. Look into purchasing some good biodegradable soaps or medical "scrubs" to clean around the wound.

The next step in forming a first aid kit is packing the various medications that are necessary.

Topical Antibiotic Cream - This helps to kill germs in wounds and promotes healing.

Analgesic, Antipyretic and Anti-inflammatories - Recommendations include: Tylenol, Ibuprofen and Aspirin.

Antihistamine - Recommendations include: Benadryl and Sudafed.

Antacid - Recommendations include: Mylanta, Gelusil, Pepto Bismol and Maalox.

Anti-diarrheal - Recommendations include: Pepto Bismol, Keopectate, Immodium and Lomotil.

Anti-constipation - Recommendations include: Metmucil or Glycerine Suppositories.

Anti-fungal/Yeast - Recommendations include: Tinactin and Mystatin.

Dental pain - Recommendations include: Orabase and Clove Oil.

Temporary Dental Filling - Dental Wax or Cavit.

Special Need Medications - Asthma Inhalers, Altitude Meds, Epinephrine, for example.

Glucose Liquid glucose in a single-use tube.

Oral Electrolyte Replacement Solution - Recommended: Gookinaid and Gatorade

Benzoin - Aids in keeping bandages attached.

Activated Charcoal - Used to draw ingested poisons and other detrimental substances into itself, so it can be digested safely.

Ipecac Syrup - Syrup used to induce vomiting.

Hardware | Things to Include in Your First Aid Kit

This section refers to all the stuff to may need to assist in caring for a wound or forming a shelter, etc.

Tweezers - Extremely necessary for getting at hard-to-reach things such as splinters.

Pins - This includes safety and bed pins; both have multiple uses.

Plastic Bags - These can be handy for all sorts of things, whether for insulation, irrigation or layering. Multiples of different sizes are recommended.

Thermometer - This is necessary for conditions such as hypothermia. There are disposable ones that are good for outdoor use, and some that are for outdoor and indoor use that can be used for travel.

Trauma Shears - These are necessary for cutting everything from bandages to splints.

BP Cuff and Stethoscope - These items add weight and volume to your kit, so you have to sit
down and decide if you want to include them. They can be very necessary and useful in case of injury or sickness.

Heat/Cold Packs - Again, these are good to have, but aren't necessarily a vital part of your medical kit. These are usually found in the larger kits. You can make your own by putting wet towels in Ziploc bags or carrying insulated water bottles filled with warm water.

Mirror/Signal Device - In case of emergency, these are a good thing to pack, to aid in getting things out of your eye or, in a grander case, signaling someone for help.

Whistle - This can also be used for a rescue effort or even as a signal in a preplanned activity.

Flashlight/Headlamp - This is a necessity at night to minimize the chance of getting lost; it is also a good idea to pack extra batteries.

Lighter/Waterproof Matches - Both are necessary items, as a primary fire source and a backup. It is also advised if traveling in an overly wet/cold place, to look into packing a fire catalyst, such as fire gel.

Flagging Tape - This can be used for signaling in emergency and rescue or marking off sites. It is advised to purchase it in bright orange or blue.

Parachute Cord - This can be used as rope and therefore has various helpful uses. Mechanic's Wire, which is a stronger form of wire, can also be packed, if you think it's necessary.

Survival Blanket - This is a necessary item for shelter and insulation. Also, if you get one with a silver reflective surface, it services as a signaling item for emergency use.

And finally:

Splinting - This is a necessary emergency supply, although if you forget, splints can usually be made with a multitude of things. Don't forget to pack things to secure the splint to the limb, such as bandages and tape.

Organizing all this sometimes can be complicated, but it's not impossible. Just think about how to compartmentalize and use the plastic resealable bags accordingly. It is also important to organize according to necessity. Sometimes time is of the essence, and it is important to be able to grab certain items rapidly. Remember this when packing.

More Baby Safety and Child Proofing Tips

Safety Latches and Locks
Corner and Edge Bumpers
Safety Gates
Outlet Covers and Outlet Plates
Door Knob Covers and Door Locks
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector
Anti-Scald Devices
Window Blind Cords/Safety Tassels
Smoke Detectors
Door Stops and Door Holders
Window Guards and Safety Netting
Cordless Phones