Quick Triage: Do You Have the Essentials in Your First-Aid Kit?

It’s not “if” your kids get injured, it’s “when.” Make sure you’re set up for life’s little owwies.  

Kids are great at getting hurt; in fact, they are virtually genius at it. In our helicopter-parenting era, the normal cuts, bruises, scrapes, and goose eggs are reason for high alert – until we remember our own boo-boos. That’s life, and it hurts sometimes.

One of the easiest ways to reduce our anxiety about the daily slings and arrows is to be prepared. If you don’t already have a first-aid kit in your house and in your car, here is a fast bucket list you can take care of easily between the drug store and the health food store. Whenever possible, try replacing traditional over-the-counter products with plant-based remedies, but either way, make sure you have some of these first-aid essentials all in one place.

  1. Bandages of all shapes and sizes. This is a no-brainer, but they are also the first things most first-aid kits run dry on. Gauze pads and hydrogen peroxide are also really necessary for cleaning up dirty cuts.
  1. Pain remedy. Lots of kits come with pain relief medication like kid’s Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen, but these products don’t actually have a great track record when it comes to health. Some children have adverse effects and these have been linked to liver damage and overdose1. For fever, there are several other products on the market, like belladonna, or even Motrin, which moms say works better and longer.
  1. Benadryl can save your child’s life – literally. If a young child or baby gets bit by a black widow, or an assassin bug, that poison is fast-acting and aggressive. Mind you, it is incredibly rare that a bite like this is lethal but if it happens, a children’s antihistamine can curb the body’s reaction to the bite long enough for you to get to a poison control center, where an anti-venom will be administered. Having a solid antihistamine around the house can be useful for dozens of other things like grass or pollen allergies, bee-stings, and even more severe mosquito bites. Important: if your child gets a severe sting or bite, try to preserve the insect in a bag and bring it with you to the hospital. This will save the staff so much time in treating your child.
  1. The number for your local poison control. Pretty important, and don’t justify not spending the two minutes it takes to look up the number and stick it on the fridge by saying, “I can always just look it up online.” The one time you need it, the Internet will go down, says Murphy’s Law.
  1. Thermometer. Moms advise both the digital and the old-school thermometer, because nothing is more useless than a powered thermometer with a dead battery. Hint: check the batteries every time you open up your kit.
  1. Balm it. There are topical, all natural salves in every eco aisle in the grocery store; pick some of this stuff up and have it on hand. Scratches, bug bites, splinters, or even muscle soreness from growing pains can experience a little relief with some balm. There is also the psychological soothing for kids who are sensitive to pain. All better.
  1. Aloe Vera. Again, a plant we should not be without. The gel can soothe sunburns, scrapes, and calloused feet. Side note: you can also get consumable-grade aloe vera and keep it in the fridge; it lasts a long time. Let the kids drink a little shot of it for upset tummies. The body loves aloe.
  1. Hot water bottle. It’s a must-have. That warmth is really comforting for sick kids. For grown-ups too.
  1. Ice pack. Also essential. Not nearly as loved as the hot water bottle, but to bring down swelling or ease an ache, this is the ticket.
  1. Stethoscope. This one seems unlikely, but as any home care worker will tell you, this is a really useful tool to have in your home. Why? Because if your child gets a cold that won’t go away, you can listen to his or her breathing and hear if the ick has gotten into the lungs. If breathing is clear (and you’ll hear the difference), your child will probably be fine with rest and soup. If it’s in the lungs, call the doc.

There is a lot you can do at home to treat the urgent-but-not-life-threatening pains of daily life. No one loves the doctor, and so if we can treat the damage and make our kids comfortable, that’s the best way for them to get better. By having these tools in your belt and knowing how to use them, you’ll also feel much more confident in dealing with your little ones’ knocks.



  1. https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/tylenol-may-not-be-as-safe-and-effective-as-we-thought/

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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