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Does your home have a first aid kit? If so, do you know what's in it? Do you know what SHOULD be in it? Every home should have a first aid kit, with more than just a few bandages and an outdated tube of antibiotic ointment!

A first aid kit is a good place to keep all of your medical supplies. If you keep everything together, you won't be running all over your home in an emergency, trying to remember where you put the Calamine lotion or adhesive tape!

If you stock your first aid kit completely, you will find that you need a bigger container than a 4x4 white metal box with a red cross on the top! A plastic storage container is ideal for use as a first aid kit.

Benefits of a plastic storage container include 1. A choice of sizes, 2. The lid seals tight to keep out water (but keep in mind that even the tightest-sealing lid will not keep out little fingers), and 3. The plastic container will not rust, like some metal containers can, if exposed to water.

The size of your first aid kit should be relative to the size of your family. For instance, a family of two adults may find that one box of bandages in their first aid kit is enough to last them for a few months. However, a family of two adults and five children may go through an entire box in a week!

Regardless of the quantity of each item in your kit, be sure to include at least one of every item on the following list.


  • Your family's medical information, including any health conditions, allergies, and medications.

  • Emergency phone numbers (TAPE TO THE LID OF THE KIT): family doctors, local poison control center, and local emergency numbers if your area does not have 911 service.

  • A basic guide to emergencies and first aid.


  • Assorted sized of bandages, including butterfly-type.

  • Triangular cloths for wrapping and splinting.

  • Gauze: pads and rolls.

  • Adhesive tape.

  • Elastic wraps.

  • Rounded-tip scissors.

  • Antiseptic wipes.

  • Disposable, instant cold-packs.

  • Tweezers.

  • Rubber gloves.

  • Peroxide for disinfecting wounds.


  • Aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol): make sure you have age-appropriate formulas. Always have at least two aspirin available for heart attack symptoms. Don't give aspirin to children.

  • Syrup of Ipecac: used to induce vomiting in cases of poisoning. ONLY use on the advice of a doctor or poison control center.

  • Cough syrup, antihistamines, and decongestants: stock different formulas according to the age of your family.

  • Small plastic dosing cups and an oral syringe for children.

  • Electrolyte solution for diarrhea in infants and children.

  • Pepto-Bismol.

  • Hydrocortisone cream for rashes.

  • Calamine lotion for insect bites and poison ivy.

  • Antibiotic ointment for wounds.


  • Keep your thermometer(s) in your first aid kit. You will always know where it is!

  • Keep personal emergency medicines (such as Epi-Pens or emergency inhalers) in your kit. Make sure you have a spare for outings, though. Label each with the name of the individual for which the medicine is intended.

  • Write down the expiration dates of all the medicines in your kit. Replace items as they expire.

  • Keep your first aid kit in an accessible location, but out of the reach of curious little hands!

Taking the time now to create a well-stocked first aid kit means you will have everything you need right at your fingertips in the event of an emergency.

  • For moderate dehydration, especially in children, call your doctor for advice. Children can become severely dehydrated very quickly, so let your doctor decide whether your child's dehydration can be treated at home, or requires medical attention. Intravenous fluids may be needed for moderate dehydration (child or adult).
  • For severe dehydration, CALL 911. Severe dehydration is a life-threatening condition, and requires immediate medical attention. Be aware that dehydration can worsen quickly if not treated, especially in children, so prevention and early treatment of dehydration is crucial. Severe dehydration that is left untreated can result in seizures, permanent brain damage, and even death.

  • When you are exercising, make sure you're continually drinking fluid to replace those lost through sweat. In times of extreme heat, you may want to skip your workout, or exercise indoors in an air-conditioned environment to avoid dehydration and heat illness.
  • If you have children, be aware that dehydration can occur during any illness. Be prepared: know the symptoms of dehydration, and it's not a bad idea to have a bottle of children's electrolyte solution on hand to avoid an emergency trip to the store with a sick child in tow! If you have any doubts or questions about the development of dehydration in your ill child, call your doctor.
Nonfatal injuries and illnesses, private industry Fatal work-related injuries

Total recordable cases:
4,214,200 in 2005

Cases involving days away from work:
1,234,700 in 2005

Cases involving sprains, strains, tears:
503,530 in 2005

Cases involving injuries to the back:
270,890 in 2005

Cases involving falls:
255,750 in 2005

Total fatalities (all sectors):
5,734 in 2005

Total fatalities (private industry):
5,214 in 2005

Highway incidents (private industry):
1,265 in 2005

Falls (private industry):
735 in 2005

Homicides (private industry):
481 in 2005

Please Note: The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only. This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the cited regulation or consult with an attorney.
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