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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 another in your car. Carry a first aid kit with you or know where you can find one while you are hiking, biking, camping or boating. Learn the location of first aid kits where you work.

Whether you buy a first aid kit at a drug store or put one together yourself, make sure it has all the items you may need, such as medications and emergency phone numbers, advises the American Red Cross. Check the kit regularly. Make sure the flashlight batteries work. Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents. Store your first aid kit in a secure place out of the reach of young children.

The American Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include:

  • 2 absorbant compress dressings (5x9 inches)

  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)

  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)

  • 5 antibiotic ointment packs (approximately 1 gram)

  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets

  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)

  • 1 blanket (space blanket)

  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)

  • 1 instant cold compress

  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)

  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)

  • Scissors

  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)

  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)

  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3x3 inches)

  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4x4 inches)

  • Oral thermometer (nonmercury/nonglass)

  • 2 triangular bandages

  • Tweezers

  • First aid instruction booklet