What Should Come in a First Aid Kit?

Every home should have a good, well stocked first aid kit. Accidents and emergencies ranging from cuts and abrasions through to sprains and strains can be tackled effectively and quickly if you have the right products on hand.

It’s not just your home where you’ll see the benefit, either – put a smaller version in your car and luggage and have a duplicate in your caravan or boat, and you’ll be prepared for minor accidents wherever you are.

There’s some debate (and probably no ‘right’ answer) as to what should be included in the first aid kit, so we’ve come up with a list of the core products that we think should form the basis of your in-home kit:

Plasters – a variety of shapes and sizes, including finger, blister and square and rectangular

options, in both waterproof and fabric materials

Sterile gauzes – small, medium and large

Bandages – triangular and crepe rolled

Eye dressings – sterile, and at least two

Distilled water – for cleaning wounds before dressing

Eye wash/eye bath – for cleaning dirt and debris out of eyes

Disinfectant/antiseptic – cream, liquid or spray

Tweezers – for dealing with splinters

Scissors – for cutting bandages, gauze or plasters to size

Tape – for securing gauzes, bandages and eye dressings

Cooling gel – to deal with burns and scalds

Painkillers – aspirin, paracetamol and/or ibuprofen, with child-friendly options

Antihistamine – for allergic reactions and bites/stings

Rash cream – hydrocortisone or calendula, for example

Thermometer – ideally digital

Disposable sterile gloves – to prevent contamination of any wounds

Disposable face mask – can be used to prevent general contamination as well as when administering CPR

Safety pins – for securing bandages and slings

First aid manual – basic first aid advice and instructions

Sanitiser – to make sure that the person administering the first aid has clean hands

Thermal blanket – for maintaining a healthy body temperature if exposed to extreme cold or psychological shock

This might seem like a fairly exhaustive list, but the whole point of the first aid kit is to deal with unexpected emergencies. Our list tries to cover the most likely scenarios, most common at-home accidents and all of the major body parts.

Always make sure to monitor ‘use by’ dates for consumables, and replace items when they are used. The standard for workplace first aid kits is BS 8599-1:2019, and this is a good indicator even for domestic use that a first aid kit contains the right products, in the right quantities and of the right quality.

There are plenty of off-the-shelf options for you to choose from: you can find good examples online or at your local chemist or supermarket. You can also build your own kit, using this list as a good starting point, and top it up as and when needed. The benefit of assembling your own kit is that you’ll know exactly what you have and what it is used for. You can also tailor the contents, so if a member of your household has a serious allergy you can add an epi-pen, or a spare inhaler for an asthmatic, for example.

Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk