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The Doctor Is In

Safety Prep

Kids are accident-prone. As a parent, you want to be prepared for anything, and having a well-stocked first-aid kit at home will help you handle most minor injuries.
Some first-aid kits come pre-made and can be purchased at your local drugstore.  You can also make one yourself. It is best to place all of your first-aid kit items in a plastic container that is durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Store your kit out of children’s reach, but somewhere easily accessible for adults. It may also be a good idea to have a few first-aid kits: one for your home, your car, and a portable kit to bring on family vacations.
Here is a list of recommended supplies for your first-aid kits:

  • Adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • Gauze pads (assorted sizes)
  • Rolled/flexible bandages
  • Ace wrap or elastic bandages
  • Cotton swabs
  • Adhesive tape
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer (non-mercury and non-glass)
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Antihistamine (such as diphenhydramine)
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antiseptic solution (alcohol or hydrogen peroxide)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrocortisone cream (1 percent)
  • Disposable instant cold packs

In addition to medical supplies, your first-aid kits should also include a list of emergency phone numbers. These numbers should be printed on a sheet of paper and placed in the kit and also be programmed into your cell phone for immediate access.  The numbers to include are:

  • Your family doctor’s name and number
  • Your dentist’s name and number
  • Your pharmacy’s name and number
  • The Poison Help Line: 1-800-222-1222. This number can be used for any suspected ingestion or poison exposure. The national network of Poison Control Centers offers free, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You should also include a list of your child’s medications and allergies. If your child has a medical condition such as severe allergies or asthma, consider keeping a few extra doses of his or her prescription medications in the kit as well. Make sure to re-stock your kit each time you use it, check it on a regular basis, and replace any medications that have expired.
In addition to having an adequately stocked kit, you should make every effort to learn how to properly respond if your child is faced with a medical emergency. Call your local hospital or Red Cross for information on first aid and CPR classes.

Steven Bin, M.D., is a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

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