Home First Aid Kit
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recommends that every home be
prepared to respond to common medical emergencies by having a Home First Aid Kit.
Preventing emergencies is the best way to keep your family healthy and safe.
However, you can protect your family and reduce your risk of injury and serious illness by
preparing to respond in case one occurs.
Emergency physicians suggest including the items listed below in your Home First Aid
Kit. All the items are available from your local pharmacy. For the kit itself,
ACEP recommends using a tote bag, because it can hold all the items you need, as well as
be visible where it is kept. It also can be easily transported, such as when you go
on vacation. Appropriate members of the household should know where it is and how to
use each item.
First Aid Manual: A valuable resource about health and safety
and how to respond to many medical emergencies at home. ACEP also recommends taking
a first-aid class, learning CPR, and always seeking immediate medical attention when you
- Emergency Phone Numbers: family physician and pediatrician,
regional Poison Control Center, and if 911 is not
in your area, emergency services for local police, fire department, and ambulance service.
- List of Allergies: a separate list for each household member.
- List of Medications: a separate list for each household member.
Medicines and Supplies
- Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Aspirin Tablets: To relieve headaches, pain,
fever, and simple sprains or strains of the body. Have at least two aspirin tablets
available at all times in case of heart attack, although use as recommended by your
physician. Use appropriate dosages, and make sure the medicine is age appropriate.
(Aspirin should not be used to relieve flu symptoms or be given to children.)
- Cough Suppressant: To relieve coughing. Use appropriate
dosages, and make sure the medicine is age appropriate.
- Antihistamine: To relieve allergies and inflammation. Use
appropriate dosages, and make sure the medicine is age appropriate.
- Decongestant Tablets: To relieve nasal congestion from colds or
allergies. Use appropriate dosages, and make sure the medicine is age appropriate.
- Oral Medicine Syringe: To administer medicine to children.
- Activated Charcoal and Syrup of Ipecac: To treat ingestion of certain poisons.
Use only on the advice of a Poison Control Center, physician, or emergency
- Fluids to use for oral rehydration when treating infant diarrhea.
Bandages and Other Injury/Wound
- Bandages of Assorted Sizes: To cover minor cuts and scrapes.
- Bandage Closures/"Butterfly Bandages" (One-Fourth and One-Inch Sizes):
To tape edges of minor cuts together.
- Triangular Bandage: To wrap injuries and make an arm sling.
- Elastic Wraps: To wrap wrist, ankle, knee, and elbow injuries.
- Gauze in Rolls and Two-Inch and Four-Inch Pads: To dress larger cuts and
- Adhesive Tape: To keep gauze in place.
- Sharp Scissors with Rounded Tips: To cut tape, gauze, or clothes.
- Safety Pins: To fasten splints and bandages.
- Antiseptic Wipes: To disinfect wounds or clean hands.
- Disposable, Instant-Activating Cold Packs: For icing injuries and burns.
- Tweezers: For removing small splinters, foreign objects, bee stingers, and
ticks from the skin (see first aid manual for proper removal of ticks).
- Hydrogen Peroxide: To disinfect and clean wounds.
- Rubber gloves: To protect hands and reduce risk of infection when treating
Thermometer: To take
temperatures. For babies under age 1, use a rectal thermometer.
Petroleum Jelly: To lubricate a
Calamine Lotion: To relieve
itching and irritation from insect bites, stings, and poison ivy.
Hydrocortisone Cream: To relieve
irritation from rashes.
Complete medical consent forms for your family, which
will allow someone to authorize medical treatment in an emergency situation when you're
unable to give consent. If you have children, complete a medical consent form for
each child and provide them to all caregivers.
Remember to follow the same precautions for medicines in
your Home First Aid Kit as with any other medication. Use as recommended by your
physician. Store out of reach of children, and use products with child safety caps.
Check expiration dates, and include other items as recommended by your physician.
If someone in your household has a life-threatening allergy, carry appropriate
medication with you at all times, such as auto injectable epinephrine.
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Material taken from the American College of Emergency Physicians.