Accidents happen. It’s a fact of family life. From skinned knees to major emergencies, being calm and prepared is the best way to tackle any events that may spring up in your otherwise happy home. But, you should also have a first line of defense for when things do happen. A well-planned and well-stocked first aid kit can go a long way in preventing chaos.
Most people turn to the pre-packaged first aid kits available at your local drugstore. These are often great starters, but they don’t always go beyond the basics needed to take care of small scrapes and cuts. These kits are convenient to keep in your purse or to-go bag, as well as the glove compartment in your car. When it comes to your main at-home kit, consider building your own. There are several places where you can buy empty first aid kit boxes and supplies to stock them with.
Stocking the kit:
Aside from the basic bandages in multiple sizes and basic antibiotic ointment, what should your first aid kit look like? Consider the following the building blocks:
-Thermometers for both children and adults. Traditional rectal thermometers or digital options both work. If you prefer rectal for infants, have petroleum jelly on hand for lubrication.
-Gloves that aren’t made of latex to prevent allergic reaction and protect while addressing wounds.
-Gauze pads, gauze rolls, adhesive tape and scissors for major cuts or other injuries.
-Butterfly closures to keep large wounds closed.
-Irrigation and suction syringes for cleaning out wounds.
-A light splint and safety pins to keep it closed.
-Tweezers for the removal of splinters.
-Aloe gel for burns.
-A broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15. Look for products aimed at babies and small children if there is concern about your baby putting sunscreen-coated fingers in their mouth.
-Insect repellent with child-safe ingredients and hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion for treatment of bug bites.
-Doctor recommended antihistamines for seasonal allergies and allergic reactions like hives.
-Rubbing alcohol or alcohol swabs for sterilization as well as cotton swabs and/or sterile cotton balls for application of alcohol or ointments.
-General stomach treatments like immodium, Pepto Bismol and/or antacids.
-An ice pack or sealable plastic bags to create ice packs to reduce swelling and joint pain.
-A small flashlight and tongue depressors to check throats.
-First aid guides. Consider one for home care and one for outdoor care if frequently hiking or camping.
Aside from the basic tools for treating injuries and ailments, it’s important to keep emergency contact information on hand in the kit and in another safe location in the home. Aside from doctor’s names and phone numbers, include the contact information of immediate family, babysitters and neighbors you need notified in a moment of emergency. Also include reference numbers like poison control.
The difference between minor and major emergencies:
Once you have your essential first aid kit put together, there’s always the hope you’ll never have to use it. But usually fate has other plans. Taking care of the minor things usually runs smoothly, but what about when a major event takes place?
It’s important to prepare kids for how to handle emergency situations. The most important thing is to teach them about the different types of emergencies. Go over minor situations they should tell you about--falling off a bike and skinning a knee, for instance--and bigger situations, when it’s important to call 911. If you, another family member or other person they are regularly around has a medical condition that might lead to an emergency situation, go over what might happen and how they should respond. Tell them that it’s okay to be scared, but that it’s also important to remember what to do to make the situation better.
Make plans for the following emergencies:
-Medical: What to do if someone has a broken bone, an accident in the kitchen or workshop or exhibits symptoms related to a condition such as epilepsy. Telling the nearest known adult would be the first protocol, but consider different scenarios, like if they’re in a public place.
-Fire: Develop an escape route for different fire location scenarios.
-Intruder: What if someone is in the house? Is there a hiding location or safe zone?
-Storms: Where do you go in case of a tornado? What if the power goes out?
-Strangers: Talk about not answering the door for strangers and what to do if approached by a stranger.
Thinking through these situations might seem overwhelming, but being prepared is always the best way to address life’s scary moments!