First Aid Kit

Essential safety supplies for your home

You make sure that the refrigerator is well stocked, that the bathroom is clean and that Spot has his daily walk, but do you know what to keep on hand in case of an injury, no matter how small? With a family, you have to be prepared for all types of bumps and bruises, especially when you have young children.

The first thing you'll need in order to assemble a quality first-aid kit is something to put all your first-aid items in. A large makeup kit, such as a Caboodle or a tackle box is the best suggestion. If you don't have one of these lying around and don't want to spend the money, a good-sized, sturdy shoebox would do the trick - just be sure to label it clearly.

The basics that every first-aid kit should include are: latex gloves, adhesive bandages in multiple sizes, antiseptic wipes or some other form of cut-and-scrape cleanser, antibiotic ointment, burn ointment, a thermometer, personal scissors, antacids, antidiarrheal medication and over-the-counter pain relievers / fever reducers.

Depending on your family's needs, you should include other items, such as prescription medication or something to combat allergic reactions, like an EpiPen or antihistamine. An anti-itch lotion is also something great to keep on hand, especially during the warmer months when your family is outside often and in danger of bug bites and exposure to poison ivy.

Keep in mind every member of the family, even yourself, when you're thinking of items beyond the basics to put in your kit. It is also a good idea to keep a list of everyone's allergies and prescription medication so that the information is readily available in case of an emergency, as well as a list of important phone numbers such as those of the Poison Control Center, primary physicians and dentists.

It is a good idea to create multiple kits and keep one in a convenient location, such as a bathroom or a kitchen, on every level of your house. It is also very important to keep a first-aid kit in your car. By adding a few more items, you'll also be ready in case you're stranded. Extra items to be included in a car first-aid kit are bottled water, a blanket, a calling card and snacks that have faraway expiration dates, such as granola or meal-replacement bars.

About once a year, you should take the time to go through your kit, check expiration dates on any medication and replace those that are too old. It is also important to make sure you restock items as you use them.

If you don't want to start a kit from scratch, there are many prepackaged ones that you can buy at any drugstore or superstore. Just make sure to look through what is in there and add important.

By Jaime Gleba