The point of a first-aid kit is to be ready for emergencies-have what you need, know where it is and how to use it-before they happen. You can buy kits in drugstores or assemble your own: ideally, one for home and another for the car or for trips.
A toolbox is ideal. It’s sturdy, portable, and keeps everything in sight. Be sure to label medications clearly. Include a first-aid manual, and tape emergency phone numbers to the lid (doctor, ambulance, hospital, police, poison control center). Put the kit away unlocked, out of children’s reach but instantly accessible to adults.
Any first-aid kit should contain at least the following:
Triangular bandage and large safety pins (for bandaging and as a sling); elastic bandage (for supporting minor sprains); rolls of 2-inch and 4-inch gauze bandage; box of 4 x 4-inch gauze pads; rolls of finch and 2-inch adhesive tape; adhesive bandages in assorted sizes; bottle of 3 percent hydrogen-peroxide solution (for cleaning wounds); antibiotic ointment; aspirin or another analgesic; ipecac syrup (for accidental poisonings); powdered activated charcoal (for drug overdose); roll of sterile absorbent cotton; cotton swabs; scissors; tweezers and a packet of needles (for removing splinters); tongue depressors (for finger splints); fever thermometer; ice bag (for reducing swelling); flashlight and extra batteries.
Restock short supplies as needed; replace any that have expired (hydrogen peroxide that no longer bubbles) or are doubtful (flashlight batteries). For a travel kit consider adding provisions for special sensitivities: skin or sunburn lotion, antinauseant (for motion sickness), pectin-kaolin compound (for diarrhea). Ask your doctor about antibiotics and kits for allergies, such as bee stings.