First-Aid Kit Essentials

build-first-aid-kit-infographicAnyone with children knows that with childhood comes the inevitable scenario of “fell down, went boom.” Fortunately, most of these injuries are minor and are easily cared for at home. Having a well-stocked first aid kit with a few essential items will help dry the tears and get your youngster feeling better again in no time!

What to Use for Minor Wounds

Bandaids® and other types of self-adhesive bandages are a must. For minor scrapes and cuts, they provide a barrier to keep the area clean and protected as it heals. They are also easily removed so the area can be periodically monitored for signs of infection. These days, bandages come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes, and they are often adorned with beloved cartoon characters to help cheer up an injured child. I recommend buying a box that contains different shapes and sizes to accommodate various types of injuries and locations where they are needed. And, as we all know, putting a Bandaid® on even the most minor of injuries often produces complete resolution of symptoms!

How to Clean a Wound

There are various ways of cleaning a dirty cut or scrape, and I’m sure most us remember what our parents did when we scraped our knees as children. Cleaning with Hydrogen Peroxide or Iodine have been traditional favorites. In reality though, for most minor injuries, simply cleaning the area with water will suffice to remove any visible debris that may accompany the injury. Excessive cleaning is rarely necessary and may actually be more painful for the child.

What to Do for Accidental Ingestion

One item that was traditionally stocked in home medicine cabinets and first aid kits was Syrup of Ipecac, which is used to induce vomiting in the event of an accidental ingestion of something poisonous. However, inducing vomiting can actually be dangerous in some circumstances, so using Syrup of Ipecac is not recommended for home use. Current recommendations are to call Poison Control immediately for further instructions in the event of an accidental ingestion. Keep this phone number in your first-aid kit, so you always know where to find it.

How to Care for a Sprain

Ace® bandages are a useful item in the treatment of various strains and sprains. They can be wrapped around injured ankles, wrists and knees to provide compression and support for the injured joint.

Having a small first-aid book can provide some helpful tips and advice. A few other random items, such as tweezers, cotton balls, gauze pads, antibiotic ointment and some athletic tape round out my list and make for a nice kit to take care of most minor injuries at home. Put it all together in a container, label it and keep it in a handy location. Hopefully, though, it won’t need too much use!

By Dr. Samuel Schimelpfenig

Pediatrician at Avera McKennan

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