When was the last time you checked your first aid kit? I hate to admit it but I haven’t taken stock of my first aid kit since I first put it together. Most of us are just grabbing a band aid here and there so it’s easy to just forget about it! That is until you actually need your first aid kit and realize just how low you’ve gotten on supplies.
So here is your reminder: update your first aid kit!
Now you might be wondering, what should I be checking for? What should be in my first aid kit? How often should I be checking my kit? Here is a quick guide to putting together a first aid kit and maintaining it to be sure it is always ready when you need it.
Putting a Kit Together
We all know a first aid kit should have bandages and ointments, but what else does a good first aid kit need? My kit is one of the store bought, already put together ones. I didn’t think twice about what I should look for as far as supplies go! So here is a great list to help you get an idea of what a good first aid kit should include. Keep in mind that you may need to add items specific to you and your family. For example, I also keep allergy meds, an epipen, and inhaler in mine.
- an up-to-date first-aid manual
- a list of emergency phone numbers
- sterile gauze pads of different sizes
- adhesive tape
- adhesive bandages (Band-Aids) in several sizes
- elastic bandage
- a splint
- antiseptic wipes
- antibiotic ointment
- antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
- hydrocortisone cream (1%)
- acetaminophen and ibuprofen
- sharp scissors
- safety pins
- disposable instant cold packs
- calamine lotion
- alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
- plastic non-latex gloves (at least 2 pair)
If you are making your own kit you can use a tackle box or craft box to store your supplies. Really any plastic box that is easy to organize will work! It’s recommended that you keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car so you can be prepared everywhere you go. This is also a great time to go over all the supplies and learn how to use them and what to use them for.
Now that your kit is stocked up you are good to go, right? Well, not quite. Let’s take a look at some of the steps to take after your kit is prepared.
Maintaining Your Kit
Once you have your kit together, remember to check it regularly. At least once a year you should take some time to go through your first aid kit. Did you know that most items in a first aid kit expire after 3-5 years? I had no idea!
When you check your first aid kit you should look for two things. First, look for any supplies that need to be restocked. I’m always surprised at how low my supplies get. Taking a band aid here and there really adds up I guess! Depending on how often you are using your first aid kit, you may have to restock several times a year.
The second thing to look for is expired or damaged items. As mentioned before, most items will expire in 3-5 years if you don’t use them! If you have medications in your kit be sure to check the expiration dates and dispose of any that have gone bad. Take a look at the packaging on your items, too. Things like sterile bandages need to be sealed until used. If the package gets torn or damaged, the bandages will no longer be sterile and should be replaced. Be sure to check ointments and disinfectants as well to be sure they are sealed tight and not expired.
To put it simply, you just want to make sure that everything is in good condition and fully stocked!
While you’re getting organized, now is the perfect time to clean out the rest of your medicine cabinet as well! In case you missed it, check out our blog on how to clean out your medicine cabinet and keep it organized. It feels so good to know your first aid kit is well-stocked and ready to go. I will definitely make it a habit to check my kit at least once, if not twice, a year!
Do you have your own tips on staying prepared? Leave them in the comments below and share the knowledge!