This post is by Naomi Cook of Nurse Naomi.
Perhaps it’s the nurse in me, but I have a bit of a fetish for first aid kits. I have an exciting assortment of first aid kits conveniently placed wherever I may need one; we have one under the kitchen sink, two in the car, and I have on many occasions triumphantly whipped out my mini-first aid kit from the back of the stroller in the park, (yes, I did enjoy how impressed the other mothers looked!) So here are a few of my ideas for first aid kits (and I look forward to seeing if you can add any suggestions below);
Where should I keep one?
My suggestions would be;
- Plasters (band aids)
- Sterile gauze
- A couple of dressings
- Normal Saline Solution (for cleaning wounds and for use as eye irrigation: think of the sandpit at the playground!)
- Tools for splinter removal (these are normally made of plastic and are packed sterile)
- Pain/Itch Relief Spray for insect bites
- Instant Cold Pack: These are suitable for one use only and are easy to activate when needed. They easily fit in the back pocket of the stroller. (You’ll be the star mother of the playground if you can whip one of these out when it’s needed!)
- Something sweet (a couple of jellybeans, or packet of dried apricots)…research shows that glucose given to neonates acts as an effective form of pain relief 1, I have no access to clinical research to prove the same in children too, but never mind, as clever mums we know it does!
- A small plastic face shield for resuscitation (if you are CPR qualified this is useful to carry around all the time, St Johns have a key ring version).
For the Car
These can generally be larger more comprehensive kits. In addition to the basics I would add:
- Pocket Mask (for resuscitation)
- An assortment of bandages
- Sterile scissors
- Compresses to make larger dressings
- An assortment of dressings
- A few pairs of latex gloves (include sterile and non-latex varieties)
- A separate bites and stings kit: for Australians this is a useful kit for potentially deadly spider and snake bites. It could contain bandages for pressure and limb immobilization, plus a cold pack.
You will probably have an assortment of first aid bits and pieces floating around anyway, but it may be useful to have a closed kit under the kitchen sink so that if supplies run out unbeknownst to you, then you have the necessary materials. Something worth keeping in the kitchen is a “Fire Blanket”.
Travel: Long Haul Flights
I would hope that the majority of products in a first aid kit would be provided by air cabin crew; but there are a couple of things you may want to think about bringing along:
- A couple of plasters (band aids)
- Anti-histamine: Bring this if it has been recommended by a pharmacist or doctor in order to help with travel sickness and to encourage sleepiness. Always try out the medication first as paradoxical excitation (hyperactivity) can occur. Also, whilst talking about anti-histamines, which are usually given for allergic reactions, with young children I would personally recommend avoid introducing a new item of food whilst in the air. 30,000 feet above land is not a good place to discover a new allergy!
- Pain Relief: Paracetamol will also serve the purpose of treating a fever should your child be unfortunate enough to spike one mid–flight. Remember the medication dispensing agent (syringe) and don’t forget to pack paracetamol for yourself.
- Medication relevant to existing conditions for example; diabetes, asthma, reflux etc. You will need enough medication to cover the usual daily dosage. I would also pack extra into the hand luggage so that if any is spilt you have a back up supply.
A Note About Epipens
Children (and adults) who have a diagnosed life-threatening allergy (to anything at all) must carry an epi-pen (a small injection of adrenaline) with them at all times. If this applies to you it may worth adding one into your first aid kit(s) so that you have spares in multiple places. Remember to check the use by date regularly.
Where can I get a first aid kit?
You can purchase first aid kits from pharmacies and camping/outdoors shops and in Australia St John’s Ambulance offer a wide variety of kits online (2).
Naturally, you can also make your own kit but I think it is easier to get a good kit with the basics and then customize it by adding in what ever you feel you need. Plus, a red bag with a white cross looks far more impressive at the playground 🙂
Do you have a stroller friendly first aid kit? What do you keep in your first aid kits? Do you have any tips of things I can add to mine?
- Gibbins S, Stevens B, Hodnett E, Pinelli J, Ohlsson A, Darlington G (2002) Efficacy and Safety of Sucrose for Procedural Pain Relief in Preterm and Term Neonates Nursing Research 51 (6) pp375-382
- St John’s Ambulance