10 Essential First Aid Kit Items

Even a Walk in the Park Can Include a Minor Injury

When traveling, it's always a good idea to have a first aid kit around. Here are some items you'll want to have on hand for car travel, picnics, and other outings. These are tools to help you stop bleeding, manage a sprain, respond rapidly to a bee sting, or remove a nettle or thorn.


Hurt Free Antiseptic Wash

Soap and water are your best bet for cleaning, but when you're on the go, it's good to have antiseptic wash around, since you may not be near a water source. Some brands also include a mild pain reliever, helpful for those scrapes and cuts children often get on playgrounds or sidewalk walks. It comes in liquid and the force of the stream is strong enough that it can be used to flush out any dirt particles in an injury.

Gauze Pads

Gauze pads should always be part of your first aid arsenal. They come in many sizes, but it's best to buy the largest size and cut them down if necessary.


Useful for cutting gauze pads (as mentioned above), for cutting adhesive tape, shoelaces, clothing and just about anything you can think of in an emergency -- scissors are a must. Invest in a good pair of curved medical scissors. Pointed sewing (or other) scissors can be difficult to manage in an urgent situation and could lead to further injury.

Adhesive Tape

Adhesive tape comes in handy for many first aid needs, including forming splints and securing gauze pads.

Ace Bandage

Ace bandages used to come with the spiky fasteners, but now wrapping is easier thanks to the convenience of velcro. They're ideal for twists, sprains, and other minor injuries to knees, ankles, and arms.

Instant Cold Pack

An instant cold pack is essential to ease swelling of bumps and bruises when you lack access to ice. It's a good idea to purchase several since these are for one use only.

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves help keep both parties--the injured and anyone giving first aid--safe from bacteria, disease, and other harmful conditions. They're also great to have around for situations requiring clean up of bodily fluids or changing particularly messy diapers. When finished, the diaper can be sealed inside the gloves and thrown away.


Band-aids take care off all sorts of small injuries. Your best bet is to buy a box with a variety of sizes and shapes to cover all your bases. Today's band-aids also come with added antibacterial protection. Remember that Band-Aid is a brand name; there are many excellent brands of adhesive bandages.


Tweezers are great for splinters, removing ingrown hairs or nabbing hang nails. A medical pair is good to have, but this pair which has a clear-view function so you can actually see what you're trying to remove. This is very helpful when you have a squirming child.

Sting and Bite Treatment

On the playground or picnic -- ant bites, stings, and other insect issues arise. Keeping a bite and sting kit around will help ease the pain. If a member of your party is actually allergic to bee or other insect stings, an Epi-pen is absolutely essential. In fact, if there is a real danger of anaphylactic shock, it's important to establish that an Epi-pen is with you at all times, that it is in good condition, and that it is up-to-date. Otherwise, a simple walk in the woods could potentially turn deadly.

Using Your First Aid Kit

First aid kits are intended to help manage an injury on the spot. If the injury is more than a simple cut or prick, however, it's important to take the next step. A person who has (or may have been) seriously injured should be immediately seen by a medical professional. This is particularly true in the case of head injuries, which can appear mild but lead to serious repercussions. Once you put your first aid kit together, there's a good chance you'll forget all about it until an injury occurs. Because of this, you may forget to check supplies. Put a note on your calendar to restock and refresh your kit at least once a year.