Health Encyclopedia

What's in a First Aid Kit?

In order to be better prepared for emergencies, the American Red Cross recommends having a first aid kit. You should keep one at home and one 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 decide to purchase a ready-made first aid kit or put one together yourself, it is important to check the kit regularly. Make sure the kit contains information appropriate to you and your family, such as a list of medications, allergies, and emergency phone numbers. Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.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