How to Prepare a First Aid Kit

Anatomy of a First Aid Kit


A well-stocked first aid kit is a handy thing to have. To be prepared for emergencies, keep a first aid kit in your home and in your automobile. Carry a first aid kit with you or know where you can find one when you are hiking, biking, camping or boating. Find out the location of first aid kits where you work.

First aid kits come in many shapes and sizes. You can buy one from a drug store, your local American Red Cross chapter may sell them, or you can make your own kit. Some kits are designed for special activities such as hiking, camping or boating. Whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together, make sure it has all the items you may need. Include any personal items, such as medications and emergency phone numbers, or other items your physician may suggest. Check the kit regularly. Make sure the flashlight batteries work. Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents. The contents of a first aid kit can be dangerous in the hands of young children. Store your first aid kit in a secure place out of the reach of young children.

Here are suggestions for the contents of a first aid kit:

  • Activated Charcoal (use only if instructed by Poison Control Center)
  • Adhesive Tape
  • Antiseptic Ointment
  • Band-Aids (assorted sizes)
  • Blanket
  • Cold Pack
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Gauze Pads and Roller Gauze (assorted sizes)
  • Hand Cleaner
  • Plastic Bags
  • Scissors and Tweezers
  • Small Flashlight and Extra Batteries
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use only if instructed by Poison Control Center)
  • Triangular Bandage

More information about First Aid is available online at:

The Red Cross First Aid, CPR and AED Courses
Pet First Aid from The Red Cross