08 October 2015
Preparing Your Home First Aid Kit

Accidents happen even in the most careful households. A scraped knee. A scratched arm. A muscle sprain or strain. All pretty common, especially if you have active children in the house. As an adult, it’s your job to be prepared for minor injuries, from bruises and minor burns to cuts and scrapes. You shouldn’t have to panic if you’re prepared for the little hurts that invariably happen in any home.

So, what ointments, wraps, and other items should you include in your home first aid kit to prepare yourself for the next home accident, and where should you place these first-aid items? The American Red Cross® has some  answers.

Be Prepared

When accidents in the home do occur, you should know how to handle the situation to prevent a minor injury from becoming a major health risk. Prepare yourself and family members ahead of time, before an accident. If you’re reading the first-aid manual while your friend is bleeding profusely, you aren’t delivering first aid quickly, and this is no time to learn as you go.

Learn basic first aid techniques. The American Red Cross and local community organizations offer basic first aid classes, and the investment of a couple of hours can be a life saver.

Contact your local branch of the American Red Cross and learn how to handle a home emergency, from burns to itchy bug bites. These classes provide the basics of home first aid in two or three hours. In most cases, these first aid classes are free, so there’s no big investment of money, and you’ll learn some important skills to help protect yourself and loved ones in the home.

Keep several kits in places where accidents are most likely to occur. The kitchen can be a dangerous place. Your shop in the basement can also be dangerous. Bathroom slip and falls can leave a nasty bruise, and most of us have cut ourselves shaving more than once, so a first aid kit in the bathroom is a good idea.

Make sure all members of the household know where the first aid kits are kept. It doesn’t do any good to have four first aid kits spread around the homestead if no one can find them when an emergency crops up. Searching for a first aid kit can waste time when every second counts.

Where can you purchase a first aid kit? First aid kits come in a variety of sizes. You can purchase a first aid kit with all the basic items in place, or you can put one together to suit your individual needs. The Red Cross maintains an online store1 that sells first aid kits in a variety of sizes for a variety of circumstances.

Need a first aid kit today? Check out your local pharmacy or superstore. Most carry a variety of kits in different sizes and at different price points.

Whether you purchase a kit, or put one together on your own, make sure you include emergency phone numbers right in the kit carrier to save time when an injury occurs.

Check your kit regularly. Make sure the flashlight batteries work, and that you replaced the gauze strips used during the last emergency. You can purchase replacement items for your first aid kit at any well-stocked pharmacy, or, again, at the (2) Red Cross Store online.

Check expiration dates on any medications you keep in your home first aid kit and replace medicines that have passed their expiration dates. Ointments for rashes, or an aspirin to alleviate pain, do lose effectiveness over time, so replace items that are past their prime. 

What should your home first aid kit include? The American Red Cross recommends the following for a family of four2:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings 5 x 9 inches for cuts
  • 25 adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes, for little hands and big hurts
  • 1 10-yard roll of adhesive cloth tape
  • 5 antibiotic packets 1 gram apiece
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 water-proof packets of 81 milligram aspirin
  • 1 space blanket to keep the patient warm
  • 1 instant cold compress to reduce swelling from a bruise
  • 1 breathing barrier with one-way value for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (keychain size for convenience)
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves, size large
  • 2 packets of hydrocortisone ointment for bug bits and rashes
  • scissors to cut bandages and tape
  • 1 3-inch wide roller bandage
  • 1 4-inch wide roller bandage
  • 5 sterile gauze pads
  • 1 oral non-glass, non-mercury thermometer
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • a pair of tweezers to remove splinters
  • a complete first aid guide with clear illustrations

It may sound like a lot of materials, but that’s the thing about accidental injuries. You don’t know when they’ll happen or what you’ll need. But you do know that you should be prepared for routine injuries by keeping first aid kits throughout the house.

So, if you’re missing a few things from that list, pick them up the next time you visit the local pharmacy, or order online from the Red Cross. Keep your family safer with basic first aid.

It’s not expensive, it’s not hard, but it can save time when time is working against you treating a home injury emergency.

  1. http://www.redcrossstore.org/category/id/2
  2. http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit/anatomy


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.


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