Your Family's Medicine Cabinet Checklist

When sickness strikes, be prepared with these essential items.

Your family needs a well-stocked medicine cabinet so you can respond quickly when an illness or accident strikes. Use this checklist to make sure you have all the basic supplies to keep your kids healthy and safe. Remember to place all medicines out of the reach of children, and always check with your pediatrician before administering medication.

  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen, for fever reduction and pain relief
    (Note: Do not give aspirin to children under age 12. It has been linked to Reye Syndrome, a rare disorder that affects the brain and liver and can be fatal.)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Allergy eye drops
  • Antibacterial ointment, for minor cuts and burns
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antifungals, for diaper rash
  • Bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Benadryl, for allergic reactions
  • Calamine lotion, for minor skin irritations
  • Children's-strength cough syrup
  • Children's-strength decongestant
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Disinfectant and alcohol wipes, for minor cuts and scrapes
  • Dosage spoon or cup, for measuring and administering medications
  • Gauze pads in a variety of sizes
  • Hydrocortisone cream, for insect bites and stings
  • Hydrogen peroxide, for minor cuts and scrapes
  • Insect repellent
  • Nasal aspirator bulb
  • Petroleum jelly, for minor burns and abrasions
  • Soap, for disinfecting cuts
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher; do not use on infants under 6 months old)
  • Activated charcoal, for accidental poisoning (syrup of ipecac is no longer recommended)
  • Thermometer, for taking temperature
    (Note: Rectal thermometers are recommended for 3-year-olds and younger; oral or ear thermometers are an option for older children. Mercury thermometers should not be used under any circumstances.)
  • Tweezers, for removing splinters or ticks (sterilize before use)


    American Academy of Pediatrics
    The National Safe Kids Campaign
    The National Safety Council