In this article, we’ll go over must haves for your first aid kit list, and at the end of the article, we will provide a printable first aid kit shopping list to get you started, so keep reading!
We all know it’s important to be prepared for an emergency – but just how much should we prepare for, and what are the most critical supplies to keep on hand?
While some emergencies will require serious medical attention, you can respond to minor emergencies at home with the right set of tools. That’s where a first aid kit comes in.
A well put together first aid kit can help you respond to minor injuries, also protect wounds as they heal, and even prevent serious harm in an emergency. First aid kits are essential to keep in your home, car, as well as at your workplace.
What is a First Aid Kit?
These kits can provide everything you need to respond to minor emergencies like cuts, burns, stings, splinters, sprains, as well as digestive or respiratory problems. You can also use your first aid kit as the first line of defense in a more serious injury while you wait for emergency services.
First aid kits are essential to have on hand at home, in your car, and your workplace. In fact, by law, most workplaces must have an appropriate first aid kit on site, so be sure to follow these guidelines. We recommend bringing your own first aid kit to work as well, because you never know what you may need.
One can also add customized supplies to your first aid kid, depending on where you’ll be taking it. If you’re traveling internationally, you may want to add medications for digestive issues. Additionally, if you’re going camping, you can include outdoor essentials like waterproof matches or insect repellants.
Maintaining Your First Aid Kit
You can purchase fully stocked first aid kits, or make your own. Most local pharmacies provide first aid kits for sale, and you can find them online at places like Amazon.
We recommend always customizing your kit based on your family’s specific needs, medications, or health histories, because each individual is different.
You should also regularly check your kit for missing, expired, or broken items. Count your supplies and make sure you have a backup supply for each item. Check expiration dates and throw out anything expired, as a result you won’t get stuck without vital supplies.
First Aid Kit List Must Haves
So, you’re ready to stock your first aid kit, but what should you include in it?
We will go over the supplies you’ll need in a small first aid kit for a family size of about four people. Also, remember that you can also modify your equipment for specific needs or activities like camping or boating.
Our first aid kit list fits into four separate categories: basic supplies, injury and wound care, medications, and emergency supplies.
For each of these categories, we’ll explain which items are essential and which items are subject to personal preference or setting. For example, you don’t need insect repellent in your indoor kit at home. But, you might want it in your car or a kit you take camping.
Every first aid kit should have some basic supplies for responding to an emergency or injury. Some of the items on this list are only necessary for certain situations, but they are essential for most activities.
- Duct tape or other adhesive tapes
- Petroleum jelly or other lubricants
- Plastic bags
- Safety pins, ideally in assorted sizes
- Hand sanitizer
- Eye solution
- First-aid manual
For a kit serving outdoor activities, you should also include:
- Insect Repellant
- Waterproof flashlight and extra batteries
- Waterproof matches
Injury and Wound Care
The most common use for first aid kits is to respond to minor cuts, scrapes, burns, stings, and also other minor injuries. Even for injuries that require a professional medical response, the first aid kit can be a life-saving intermediate measure.
Every first aid kit should include the following regardless of its purpose.
- Five packets or one tube of antibiotic ointment
- Two packets or one tube of hydrocortisone ointment
- Five antiseptic wipes
- Two compress dressings or trauma pads (absorbent)
- 25 Band-Aids or other adhesive bandages in various sizes
- One roll of adhesive cloth tape
- emergency blanket or “space blanket”
- surgical masks or face mask
- One instant cold compress
- 1 non stick sterile gauze bandage roll
- 5 gauze pads (sterile) in assorted sizes
- Two triangular bandages
- Two pairs of latex-free disposable gloves
- One oral thermometer
Other essentials can include:
- Eyeshield, patch, or pad
- Rubber tourniquet
- Aluminum finger splint
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Sterile saline for flushing wounds
- Syringe or medicine spoon
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Calamine lotion
- Aloe vera gel
It’s also a good idea to have medicine on hand in your first aid kit. You can include backups of any particular medication you or your family use regularly, and also prescription medications that don’t need refrigeration.
Here are a few common medications you may want to include.
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Cough and cold medications
- Pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
Aspirin is an absolute must-have in a first aid kit, because it can save someone’s life if they have a heart attack. If an adult is having unexplained chest pains, call emergency services immediately and have them take one regular-strength aspirin. But, don’t give aspirin to children.
Depending on your family’s needs, you may also want to include:
- Autoinjector of prescribed epinephrine
- Personal medications that don’t need refrigeration
Contact Numbers and Information
Medical contact numbers and medical history can add the final touches to your kit, so consider including the following:
- Phone numbers: your family doctor and pediatrician’s number, a number for the local emergency room, emergency roadside service, and poison helpline
- Medical consent, as well as medical history forms for each member of your household
First Aid Kit List – Final Thoughts
The first aid kit lists above are a great starting point for your first aid kit must haves. In addition to preparing a few first aid kits for your home and vehicle, also make sure you’ve discussed emergency plans with loved ones. Talk through things like meeting points, emergency contacts, and medication preferences, so that everyone knows what to do.
With good preparation and communication, as a result you can rest easy knowing that you and your family can handle whatever comes your way.
First Aid Kit List – Printable Shopping List
Use this printable first aid kit shopping list to assemble your first aid kit, as a result you will always be prepared. Remember to do a regular check to ensure you have enough of each item and that things like batteries are still working.
This list will get you started with the basics for a first aid kit that fits any situation, therefore you should include these for your at-home kit, a travel kit, and at work. Be sure to also bring these items on any trips, including camping, boating, or hiking trips.
You can continue to add more supplies or essentials based on your family’s needs or health concerns, but be certain to have these basics on hand.
First Aid Kit Shopping List
- 2 absorbent compress dressings or trauma pads
- 25 adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- roll of first aid tape
- 1 tube of antibiotic ointment
- 1 tube of hydrocortisone anti-itch ointment
- 5 wipes with antiseptic solution
- 1 thermal blanket or “space blanket”
- 1 disposable surgical mask or face mask
- 2 pairs of disposable latex-free gloves
- 1 instant cold pack
- 1 non stick sterile gauze roll
- 5 sterile gauze pads
- 2 triangular bandages (these can be used as a sling)
- 2 packets of aspirin
- 1 oral thermometer
- 1 set of tweezers and scissors
- first aid guide