According to the American Red Cross, whether you put together a homemade kit or buy one –like the Compact First Aid Kit
-, it should include the following items:
Medications, emergency phone numbers, and other items your doctor may suggest, two absorbent 5’’ x 9’’ absorbent compress dressings; 25 adhesive bandages of different sizes; one 10yd x 1’’ adhesive cloth tape; five 1g antibiotic ointment packets.
Five antiseptic wipe packets; two aspirin packets; one blanket; one 1-way valve breathing barrier; one instant cold compress; two pairs of large non-latex gloves; two1g hydrocortisone ointment packets; scissors; two roller bandages (one 3’’ wide and one 4’’ wide); ten sterile gauze pads (five 3’’ x 3’’ and five 4’’ x 4’’); one non-mercury, non-glass oral thermometer; two triangular bandages; tweezers; and a first aid instruction booklet. (These quantities are based on a family of four).
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic advises to keep basic supplies, medications and emergency items to complement your Compact First Aid Kit. Basic supplies include adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic solution, bandages (elastic wrap and bandage strips), instant cold packs, cotton balls and cotton tipped swabs, disposable synthetic gloves, duct tape, gauze pads and roller gauze, a first aid manual, petroleum jelly, plastic bags, safety pins, soap or hand sanitizer, sterile eyewash, and a bulb suction device.
Medications include activated charcoal, aloe vera gel, anti-diarrhea medicine, over the counter oral antihistamine, aspirin and non-aspirin pain relievers, calamine lotion, over the counter hydrocortisone cream, non-refrigerated personal medication, doctor-prescribed allergic attack drugs, syringes, medicine cup or a spoon. Emergency items would be medical consent forms and medical history for each member of the family, flashlight and extra batteries, candles and matches, and sunscreen.
Both sources recommend checking first aid kits at least once every three months, to see whether the supplies have not expired, and that batteries are still working. People are also encouraged to take first aid courses, and to prepare their children for emergencies according to their ages. The American Red Cross
offers a variety of age-appropriate learning and training resources for children as well as adults. First aid kits should be kept at home, in the car and in the workplace. There are also special kits for specific activities such as hiking and camping trips.