How to make a family first aid kit

Plasters, bandages, safety pins and everything else you need to keep safe

Q: My first aid kit is pretty outdated. Can you advise me on the basic things I should be including? I need it for family use and I have young children. Susan, Mirdif

A: It’s very easy to go overboard and end up with an enormous first aid kit that’s cost a fortune and is stuffed with things that you will probably never use. First aid kits should never contain lotions, creams or medication in general because a first aider does not have powers of administration. Basically, any medication (this includes creams, pills etc) should only be administered by a qualified medical person. This is usually the ambulance crew or doctor in ER, it’s a matter of training and accountability. However as your kit is for use within your family and for your children I would suggest you add the following:

• 10 adhesive dressings/plasters, individually wrapped and in assorted sizes
• 2 sterile eye pads
• 2 triangular bandages
• 3 medium sterile wound dressings
• 2 large sterile wound dressings
• 6 safety pins
• Disposable gloves
• Antiseptic wound wipes in individual sachets (for grazes and small cuts)
• Anthisan or similar (insect bite cream)
• Piriton or similar (medicine for nettle stings/heatrash/hayfever)
• Calpol or similar for managing minor headache, fever. This should all fit in a small case and would be suitable for keeping in the car.

Q: Does anything go out of date that I should replace as a matter of course? Ruby, JLT

A: All dressings will have a use by date; they lose their adhesiveness and sterility after a specified time. If carrying creams and paracetomol, these too will expire.

Q: I never know what to take with me when I fly with the children, and always end up bringing too much. Amira, Springs

A: You can create your own small travel first aid kit following the above advice, however most airlines now enforce fluid carrying restrictions. In this case it makes sense to include Calpol in sachet form. Obviously prevention is greater than the cure so remember to keep them hydrated! One of the things that bothered my kids when they flew was their ears popping! Giving them a lollipop to suck took care of it during taking off and landing.
For more information, contact the Health Bay Polyclinic, Umm Suqeim (04 348 7140).

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