It is five in the morning, and you’re sound asleep, dreaming of lambs and butterflies, but a persistent drumming sound is pounding your eardrums. You start to gain consciousness when you realize it’s your child out in the driveway once again practicing layups. Then the drumming stops, and you know he’s just tried a jump shot, and you wait for the ball to crash against the garage. You have an athletic kid. What are you going to do?
You could call the police – just kidding. Or you could open the window and tell him you’re trying to sleep. Or you could assemble a first aid kit because you know someday you’re going to need one. We recommend that this is the choice you make – oh, and make some coffee or buy some earmuffs. You can’t sell your kid. You’re stuck with ’em.
So, here are a few items you should include in that first aid kit, which you probably should make up twice – one for the car, one for the home.
You could go all out and buy an ambulance. But here are a few basics you’ll want to have on hand if your kid is a go-go-go athletic type.
No. 1 A first aid book or, better yet, flashcards. There’s no sense having a first aid kit if you don’t know what you’re doing with it. Get a handy flashcard that lists easy to follow diagrams. This is not the time to stop and read. You want to go to the instructions right away.
A cell phone and phone numbers. Keep a list or upload emergency numbers into your phone, so they are easy to find in an emergency.
An updated list of medical forms, including allergies and current or recently used medications.
Surgical scissors and bandage sheers. Basically, you want a pointy set of scissors and a non-pointy set. The non-pointy set is great for times you don’t want to slip and stab someone, including yourself or your child. But you may find a need for pointy scissors when you have to start sheering in the middle of an article of clothing, for example.
Safety pins. You’ll be surprised how handy everyday necessities like safety pins can be in an emergency.
Forceps and tweezers. Forceps are professional grade tweezers that can clamp and hold position while pinched. Very handy. On the other hand, they tend to be larger than some applications require. Smaller tweezers can be better when trying to extract a small splinter, for example.
Wooden tongue depressors are useful for holding things (including tongues) in place when you don’t want to use your fingers.
Surgical gloves and CPR masks are both very handy when you want to avoid trading germs around. Buy a small pack of sterile gloves.
A flashlight – preferably one that works. Test your flashlight often to make sure that the batteries are up for the job and that the thing works properly.
Travel-ready cold and heat packs that can be used on the road. These packs often work by squeezing the package, which allows for a chemical reaction to produce either a refrigerant or heat.
A blanket and a cell phone. These require no explanation. However, you can shop around for a blanket designed for emergencies. Often these are highly effective and easy to pack.
Elastic bandages, bandage tape and an assortment of Band-Aids. Bandages should include wrapping gauze and various sizes of sterile gauze pads. Include non-stick bandages as well. Also, sterile cotton swabs are handy.
Liquid soap and alcohol pads or a bottle of alcohol are useful for cleaning and sterilizing hands, wounds and equipment.
Aluminum finger splints, eye patches, sterile eyewash, contact lens remover, eye bandages.
Anti-bacterial liquid soap, sunscreen, lip balm, anti-bacterial ointment, topical pain medication for bee stings and the like.
An asthma inhaler if your child has asthma. Often children forget to bring their inhaler and have asthma attacks at inopportune times.
If first aid kits are not very helpful for worse cases, immediately bring the patient to a primary care doctor.