Everyone should have a basic first aid kit in their home and/or car, especially those with small children. Here’s a list of items to include. Other items may be included (such as extra doses of prescribed medication or allergy treatments) for specific needs. First aid kits need to be checked every now and then for expiry dates on lotions or medicines. Perhaps the two most important points to make:

  1. Make sure everyone who might need the kit, knows where it is
  2. Make sure anyone who might need the kit, knows what is in it and what each item is for

Bandages and dressings:

  • Butterfly bandages (work a bit like sutures)
  • Elastic wraps for wrapping wrist, ankle, knee, and elbow injuries
  • Band-Aids/plasters, various sizes
  • Absorbent cotton
  • Adhesive and gauze wrapping in rolls
  • Triangular bandage for wrapping injuries and making an arm sling
  • Bandage closures for taping cut edges
  • Liquid soap


  • Scissors (rounded or blunt-tipped edges)
  • Tweezers (to remove ticks and small splinters)
  • Cotton-tipped swabs (“earbuds”)
  • Thermometer
  • Disposable, instant ice bags for icing injuries and treating high fevers
  • Disposable gloves


  • Aspirin or paracetamol (Panado) for headaches, fever and pain
  • Ibuprofen (Brufen)
  • Antacid (Maalox, Rennies)
  • Loperamide (Immodium)
  • Antihistamine tablets (Allergex)
  • Glucose (Powder or sweet form)

Topical skin preparations:

  • Antiseptic solution to clean a superficial wound
  • Antibiotic ointment for cuts and scrapes
  • Hydrocortisone (cortisone or steroid) cream, ointment, or lotion (0.5-1 per cent)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Aloe Vera gel (soothing, especially after sunburn)


  • First-aid manual
  • Tissues
  • Safety pins

Make sure that no one in the family is allergic to any of the medications in the kit. If someone does have an allergy, paste a note on the item with a warning. A list inside the first aid kit with your doctor’s name and number and emergency medical response numbers, along with your address and the nearest corner to your house, will be helpful in an emergency.

Author: Dr Colin Burns, retired medical practitioner and wellness coach