This article is more about first aid kits than cars, but most of us are never too far from our cars. What a great place to keep first aid kits. If you keep first aid kits in your cars, they will always be at your beckoning call, even at home. Georgia CPR teaches CPR and First Aid Classes in Atlanta, and during the CPR classes I teach, I give tips on what should be added to fortify all real first aid kits.
Most basic first aid kits have things in them that not ever be used and are even unnecessary. Many of the contents are just feel good items that won’t be of any help in a real first aid emergency. Let’s face it, do you really need that itch cream in an emergency? Does it really work anyway? You get the point. Let’s not go throwing that cream away, but let’s do beef up our first aid kits with things we might really need in a real emergency.
I start with Sam’s Club or Costco first aid kits and build them up. They only cost $20 to start, and at the end, I have maybe $50 in them. But they are decent first aid kits for starts. If you were to purchase first aid kits complete with all my “upgrades”, it would cost much more, and include other things that you really don’t need, like a stack of eye cups. Really??
Here are items that are pretty standard, and do come in one of the kits I just plugged above as well as many kits.
- Antiseptic towelettes
- Alcohol prep pads
- Antibiotic ointment packets
- Non-aspirin tablets
- Instant cold compress
- English First Aid guide (if it’s up do date!)
- Spanish First Aid guide (if you speak Spanish)
- Adhesive bandages of various sizes
- Gauze rolls 2″ x 4.1 yds.
- Eye pads
- Serile gauze pads 2″ x 2″
- Sterile gauze pads 4″ x 4″
- Sterile trauma pad 5″ x 9″
- Cotton tip applicators otherwise known as Q-Tips
- Adhesive tape roll 1″ x 5 yds.
- Triangular bandage 40″ x 40″ x 56″
- Medical grade gloves
The above list is a great starter of stock first aid kits. The quantity of each item is up to you and how much room you have for them.
Below are items that don’t come stock and should be added to first aid kits:
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
First aid kits should always be safety conscious right? Gloves and a CPR Shield should always be included. While gloves are usually in first aid kits, they seldom include a CPR mask. That’s absolutely silly. It is so important to protect yourself from coming into contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. Just put on your gloves. Treat yourself to using a mask for breath’s during CPR. Trust anyone who has done CPR. We will leave it at that.
Gauze Pads – Several Big Ones
Control of bleeding includes the application of direct pressure using gloved hands and bandages. First aid kits often have band aids – but often don’t have anything to use in case of serious bleeding. Even higher quality first aid kits usually contain only one 5″ x 9″ gauze pad, or trauma pad. Please pick up a few more. Think about it. If you need to open one of those big gauze pads to stop bleeding, you are probably going to end up opening 2 or 3 of them. They are cheap, make sure you have more than one.
Aspirin – Uncoated
In CPR certification classes, we teach that aspirin can reduce the chance of death if experiencing chest pain. If someone has chest pain and they aren’t allergic or have other issues with aspirin, offer the patient aspirin. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) won’t do, it’s got to be aspirin. Have the patient chew the aspirin which will hit them hard and fast, thinning the blood in 4-5 minutes. Make sure aspirin is in all first aid kits and see if you can get the uncoated aspirin. A coating is often used so the aspirin dissolves
Shock is defined as the lack of oxygen to body tissue and organs. It can happen when there is a significant loss of blood, spinal injury, drug reaction or simply seeing something terrible or receiving bad news. Shock can become irreversible, and it certainly has claimed many lives. When someone is in shock they should be kept warm, and lying down. A shock blanket is a little blanket of silvery material that folds up to the size of a small wallet. These are also seldom included in first aid kits. These are inexpensive and really help.
Flashlight – Pencil & Paper
Did you know accidents happen at night too? It’s dark at night, you will need to see the contents of your first aid kit and you will need to see what you are doing to help the patient. Speaking to 911 is what cell phone batteries are for, not to power your phone’s flashlight.
Have a little micro flashlight in your kit.
Put a pencil and paper in first aid kits. Pen ink runs when wet, dries up, doesn’t write on some materials, etc. Little golf pencils are much more reliable. You want to be able to write down anything from the time of loss of consciousness, to the time a tourniquet was applied, to the person’s name and address, phone number before they lose consciousness and many other potential reasons. Always have something with which to write. Always.
Good Quality Shears
Many first aid kits contain a little worthless set of scissors. Just toss them – into the recycling. Replace them with paramedic shears, which can cut through a seatbelt. That’s what you want to be able to do, cut through seatbelt, jeans, shirt etc. If you cary a pocket knife, great, but that gets really dicey in the dark, under stress, with an injured patient watching you. Thank you for using shears.
This is an optional thing, and no one’s life or limb hands in the balance of a splinter’s removal. I will tell you that I have been glad over and over that I have had a quality set of tweezers in my kit. Splinters are inconvenience turned bloody brawl when the tweezers you have are so cheap they can’t be used. Good tweezers are usually a $10 purchase. Mine have paid for themselves over and over in the abatement of children’s tears when they feel that splinter come out clean and easy. You might consider a little magnifying class too, if your eyes are like mine!
These important things should be in all first aid kits along with all the tongue depressors, anti-acid tablets and other nonsense. The information above in no way is the full description on these items’ use and maintenance. Now that you have that first aid kit set up properly – come on in and learn CPR and First Aid. We would love to have you!