First Aid Kit

Here are some instructions for putting together a simple first aid kit for your home. It is geared to address common needs, and you should modify it appropriately for special situations. For example, if someone in the household or frequent visitor has food allergies, it would be a good preventative measure to add antidotes to the kit, even if they are characteristically already kept in a more accessible place. Likewise, if someone has a special prescription in case of croup, bee stings, or any other important medical need, the first aid kit is a good place to have an extra dose of any needed medication or treatment.


The first aid kit should be both accessible and kept in a protected place where it will not be exposed to extremes of heat or cold or need to be shifted frequently to obtain access to other items. The bathroom or linen cabinet and the kitchen are typical locales. It’s important to avoid the “out of sight, out of mind” problem with a first aid kit because it should be periodically checked both to replenish any supplies that have been used as well as to replace any out-of-date items. One approach is to check the first aid kit, along with smoke alarm batteries, when setting the clock ahead in the spring and back in the fall.

First Aid Kit Contents
  • Contact Numbers--Easily readable phone number list for primary care physicians, pediatricians, specialty doctors, ambulance, and Poison Control Center. These can be clearly written and placed in a zip top plastic bag so that the ink won’t run, or it can simply be laminated. You may also want to keep an extra copy of notes on important medical data here, such as allergies to latex or penicillin and blood types.

  • First Aid Manual--In order to follow the best advice, make sure that you have an up-to-date first aid manual. Every so often the American Red Cross will change some of it's first aid and CPR guidelines, as they did in 2006. The American Red Cross publication First Aid Fast, available through local chapters, is a useful publication to have on hand.

  • For Poisoning--Experts agree that the Poison Control Center number is the only item one should have at home to deal with poisoning. The United States Poison Control Center phone number is 1-800-222-1222. A network of international poison control centers can be found online at the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

  • For Wounds
    • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
    • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
    • Sterile gauze pad and rolls
    • Antibiotic cream
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Antiseptic solution (hydrogen peroxide)
    • Non-latex disposable gloves
    • Soap
    • Cotton balls
    • Cotton swabs

  • For Burns
    • Burn ointment

  • For Sprains, etc.
    • Chemical cold pack

  • For Splinters
    • Tweezers
    • Sterilized needle

  • For Allergic Reactions
    • Hydrocortisone Cream
    • Calamine lotion
    • Benadryl

  • For Foreign Matter in Eye
    • Eyewash solution

  • For Fever and Pain
    • Over-the-counter pain relievers for adults and children

  • General supplies
    • A blanket
    • A flashlight and extra batteries
    • Scissors
    • Safety pins
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Safety pins
    • Digital thermometer and special baby thermometer if applicable
    • Petroleum jelly
    • Tongue Depressors
    • Electrolyte replacement drink

One item that it is useful to have on hand—but in the freezer rather than the first aid kit—is a cold gel pack. The other items can be neatly arranged on a shelf, placed in a box, or put in a travel kit that can easily be taken on trips and vacations.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

Related Home Institute Articles

  • Introduction to Disaster Supplies
  • Babysitter Instructions I
  • Babysitter Instructions II
  • Introduction to Poison Control
  • Quick Guide to Home Safety Tools
  • Organizing a Car Trunk
  • Emergency Information
  • Introduction to Bees