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First-Aid Kit Essentials

Having the items you need on hand can make a big difference when an accident or illness occurs. Keep these supplies (except the ice pack) in a locked storage out of your child's reach. Medications must also be stored away from excess humidity(not in the bathroom's medicine cabinet). Make sure that anyone who's watching your child knows where to find the materials and how to use them. Your at-home kit should include:

Tools and Sterilizers

  • An infant/child thermometer. For infants, you'll need a rectal thermometer; for toddlers, either a rectal or a digital ear model.
  • Tweezers for removing splinters and ticks.
  • Sharp scissors for cutting bandages.
  • A calibrated cup or spoon or an oral syringe for measuring and administering liquid medication.
  • A heating pad or hot-water bottle for soothing upset tummies.
  • An ice pack for applying to bruises and sprains. (A bag of frozen vegetables is a terrific substitute).
  • A small high-beam flashlight for checking sore throats and getting a good look at eyes, ears, noses and splinter areas.
  • Tongue depressors to check sore throats. (A flat lollipop is a fun good substitute for older toddlers and kids).
  • Nasal bulb syringe for unclogging stuffed noses.
  • Rubbing alcohol for sterilizing thermometer and other tools.
  • Petroleum jelly to lubricate rectal thermometers.
  • Gloves for handling blood.

Medications and Topical Treatments

  • Pain reliever. A non-aspirin, infant's- or children's-strength acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be extremely careful to follow your doctor's or the manufacturer's dosage recommendations since overdosing can lead to severe liver damage.
  • Antihistamine such as Benadryl, in case of allergic reaction to a sting.
  • Rehydration fluids such as Pedialyte, to treat dehydration.
  • Syrup of Ipecac and activated charcoal. These are used in cases of accidental poisoning. But never give your child a poison remedy without first checking with your local poison-control center, since using them incorrectly can cause further damage.
  • Hydrogen peroxide to clean cuts and scrapes.Antibacterial cream for applying to cuts and scrapes after cleansing.
  • Antibacterial cream for applying to cuts and scrapes after cleansing.
  • Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream for soothing the itch of insect bites or rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak, or sumac.
  • Child-strength insect repellent for applying to clothing and some skin areas before seasonal outdoor activity.
  • Sunscreen. Use only baby or children's varieties.

Bandages and Wipes

  • Gauze for dressing wounds (it won't stick to tender skin). Have both rolls (an inch or two wide) and pads (2-by-2-inch and 4-by-4-inch) on hand.
  • Adhesive tape for applying gauze.
  • Sterile cotton balls for washing small cuts and bruises.
  • Cotton swabs for cleaning the outside areas of noses and ears. Never insert a swab into a child's nose, which could cause any foreign matter to be pushed upward into the sinus cavity, nor use a swab to clean deeply into a child's ear, which removes the protective wax and can harm the eardrum.
  • Adhesive bandage strips. Have a variety of sizes and shapes on hand. However, never put a bandage strip on your child's fingers or any area that might be sucked on since it presents a choking hazard.
  • Ace bandage.

From The Parents Book of Lists: From Birth to Age Three, by the editors of Parents magazine with Marge Kennedy. Copyright ? 2000 by Roundtable Press and G+J USA Publishing.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.