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Every home should have a first aid kit where all the important things are kept together.

It’s a good idea to make your first aid kit portable, so you can take it with you on weekends away.

Find out what to pack in your portable first aid kit here.

You can buy a first-aid kit, but watch out for cheap ones as they may not include quality supplies, or you can make up your own. A small toolbox or cosmetic bag will work as a holdall.

Here’s what you’ll need…

The basics
  • first-aid manual: Equally key to having a first-aid kit in an accessible spot is knowing how to use everything in the kit. All parents would benefit from doing a first-aid course.
  • bandages and bandage rolls (assorted sizes) for binding wounds, making a sling, using as a compress or holding a splint in place
  • Burnshield, Burn-Eaz or other burn ointment or dressing
  • cotton wool or gauze to clean cuts or wounds, stop bleeding or apply antiseptic. Do not use to clean burns as it may stick to the injury and make things worse.
  • plasters for cuts and grazes
  • sterile wipes to clean wounds
  • instant cold packs for strains, sprains and injuries to muscles. Beware of using instant cold packs on small children as they are prone to develop hypothermia and too much exposure can damage the skin.
  • latex gloves
  • CPR mouthpiece
  • medicine measures or disposable syringes for administering medication
  • safety pins and adhesive tape
  • space blanket or emergency blanket for warmth, when someone goes into shock or to prevent hypothermia.
  • tweezers and a pair of scissors
  • thermometer

Read basic first-aid tips for dealing with common home emergencies.

  • antihistamine – apply cream to stings or bites, or keep tablets or syrup for allergic reactions. If somebody in the family has severe allergic reactions, ask your doctor about a prepared adrenaline injection and know how to use it.
  • anti-inflammatory for aching muscles or any swelling
  • antiseptic cream or disinfectant for cleaning or disinfecting wounds, cuts and grazes
  • pain tablets or syrup for headaches, pain or fever
  • electrolyte solution or rehydration fluids to replenish the body after a bout of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Useful tips

  • Include waterless hand sanitizer for when you cannot wash your hands.
  • Sunscreen and after-sun lotion are good to include when travelling, especially in summer.
  • Laminate a card listing important numbers, such as those of your GP and paediatrician, as well as hospitals and emergency numbers near your home (or the area you will be visiting while on holiday).
  • Check the dosages and contraindications on the medicines to ensure you are using them correctly.
  • If you do not have a splint, fold a magazine around the injured limb and apply the bandage around this to support the limb.
  • Once you have used something, or if the medicine expires, replace those items.