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What is a first aid kit, and what should it contain?

Read on to discover first aid kit essentials as well as how to keep your kit organised and stocked up.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

medicine and first aid kit

Key steps

  • Use our first aid kit essentials list to create your own ultimate checklist.

  • Checklists help you keep an eye on what needs replacing as you use it.

  • Always replace medications and pain killers on their use-by date.

  • First aid kits must be kept out of the reach of children.

Sometimes, accidents happen, and the last thing you want in those situations is to be rushing around looking for supplies to deal with them. To help you be prepared, we've put together a first aid kit guide. If you're asking 'what should a first aid kit contain?' this article gives you all the information you'll need and our practical first aid checklist will ensure you don't forget anything.

Using a first aid checklist will not only help you keep your first aid kit organised, but also allow you to keep track of when items require replenishing.

What should be in a first aid kit? Your first aid kit essentials checklist

What is a first aid kit supposed to contain? Make sure you've covered all your bases with this ultimate first aid kit contents checklist.

  • Plasters in a variety of sizes and shapes

  • Sterile gauze dressings in a variety of sizes

  • Sterile eye dressings (at least two!)

  • Triangular bandages

  • Crêpe rolled bandages

  • Safety pins (or micropore tape if you prefer)

  • Disposable sterile gloves (check they don't set off allergies)

  • Tweezers

  • Scissors

  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes

  • Thermometer (digital thermometers are the most accurate)

  • Skin rash cream such as hydrocortisone or calendula

  • Insect bite and sting relief cream

  • Antiseptic cream

  • Painkillers. Stock a variety of these. For example, paracetamol (or infant paracetamol), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), and ibuprofen

  • Cough medicine, including age-appropriate options for younger family members

  • Antihistamine cream or tablets

  • Distilled water for cleaning wounds

  • Eyewash and an eye bath

  • A basic first aid manual.

While having a well-equipped first aid kit is important, helping to prevent accidents is important too! Check out our article on how to babyproof your home, to keep your family safe.

How to organise your first aid kit: top tips and tricks

Now you know what’s in a first aid kit, use these top tips to help you keep it organised.

  1. Keep most-often required items, such as plasters and antiseptic salve, near the top of your first aid kit.

  2. Keep your first aid kit items in a bag or box with sections. This will allow you to group your essentials and make each thing you need for specific first aid situations easier to grab.

  3. Store your first aid checklist at the top of your kit. Always make a note of things you've used as well as use-by dates, so you know when to replace them.

  4. Ensure your first aid kit is kept out of the reach of children.

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When is it time to replace first aid kit essentials?

Keeping on top of the contents of your first aid kit is super important. Here’s how to ensure you keep your kit well-stocked:

  1. Medications and painkillers have use-by dates. Make a note of these so they can be replaced if not used by these dates.

  2. Damaged packaging could mean bandages and other first aid kit essentials are no longer sterile. Replace these.

  3. Replenish essentials like plasters as you use them. This will prevent you running out when you need them the most.

With our guide to what to put in a first aid kit, as well as organisational tips and more, you can be sure you're ready for any emergency situation that occurs. Interested in more home safety ideas? You can help keep your family healthy with our tips for preventing food poisoning.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published