The home is the most common place for injuries to happen.
A well-stocked first-aid kit, kept within easy reach, is a must for every household. We all know from experience that children are particularly injury-prone, with accidental injuries scarily being the most common cause of death in children over one year of age.
Children under five are most at risk from an injury in the home, with boys more likely to be injured than girls. Falls are the most common type of accident in the home, accounting for 44% of all childhood injuries. The largest number of accidents happen in the living or dining room. However, the most serious accidents occur in the kitchen and on the stairs. Every year more than 67,000 children experience an accident in the kitchen – 43,000 of these are aged between 0-4 years.
Burns and scalds are also common injuries in young children. Hot drinks cause most burns and scalds in children under the age of five. A child’s skin is far more sensitive than an adult’s, and hot water can scald for up to 15 minutes after it has boiled. Hot bath water is the biggest cause of severe and fatal scalding injuries in young children. Many young children also end up at hospital after swallowing objects or following a suspected poisoning. Older children are more likely to experience fractures, such as a broken arm or wrist.
For these reasons alone, you really should have a fully-stocked medical kit in your home at all times. Having the right supplies ahead of time will help you handle an emergency at a moment’s notice. Try to keep a first-aid kit in your home and one in each car. Also be sure to bring a first-aid kit on family vacations. It won’t cost you much, but it could save a life and will almost certainly ease someone’s pain at some point.
You can buy a first aid kit online, at drugstores or even at a local Red Cross office. Alternatively you can make one of your own, especially wise if there are members of your household with pre-existing medical conditions. If you decide to make one, use containers that are roomy, sturdy, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes or containers for storing art supplies are ideal because they’re lightweight, have handles, and offer a lot of space and separate sections.
Your basic first aid kit
A basic first aid kit may contain:
- plasters in a variety of different sizes and shapes
- small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
- at least 2 sterile eye dressings
- triangular bandages
- crêpe rolled bandages
- safety pins
- disposable sterile gloves
- alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- sticky tape
- thermometer (preferably digital)
- skin rash cream, such as hydrocortisone or calendula
- cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings
- antiseptic cream
- painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen
- cough medicine
- antihistamine cream or tablets
- distilled water for cleaning wounds
- eye wash and eye bath
After you’ve stocked your first-aid kits:
- Read the first-aid manual so you’ll understand how to use what’s in your kits. (If your kids are old enough to understand, review the main points with them.) Read the manual from time to time and check to see if it is up to date.
- Store first-aid kits out of children’s reach but where adults can easily get them.
- Check the kits regularly. Replace missing items or anything that has expired.
- Make sure babysitters and other caregivers know where the kit is and how to use it.
- Check the flashlight batteries to make sure they work.
- If you’re flying, pack the first-aid kit in your checked luggage. Many of the items won’t be permitted in carry-on bags.