First things first... virtual first aid kits do you no good. Believe me, I'm first in line for parents who want to put together a gorgeously organized first aid kit, but only have a Ziploc bag with just a thermometer, band-aids, and Tylenol in it. So today, I'm committing to making the best baby first aid kits ever! I'm providing you my list, a little quirkier than your pre-packaged kits, but good.... really good.
Download: Baby's First Aid Kit Checklist
There are so many baby first aid kits on the market right now which is great, but I look through them and mostly just see a lot of bandages! This first aid kit is built to answer the following question:
"What health emergencies are most likely to occur? What do I need to know and have on hand when they happen?"
FEVERS: Help, my baby’s burning up.
- A reliable digital thermometer (and petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to lubricate the tip). I always forget to pack this and now I own 3 of them. Throw your favorite rectal, oral or ear thermometer in. Remember a rectal temp provides the most accurate reading, particularly in infants under 1 year.
- Your kit should include Infant Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen- give only if your baby is older than 6 months). Don't give aspirin as it can cause liver failure in children with certain infections. I always put my liquid medication in a Ziploc baggie in case of leakage.
BLEEDING: Bring on the bandages!
This list should cover everything from a big fall (think control bleeding on the way to the Emergency Department fall) to a skinned knee. If the wound is large, you can use a t-shirt, a blanket or your hands to apply pressure to the wound.
- Small bottle of saline or water to rinse out a wound if there’s no sink in sight.
- Liquid soap or antiseptic wipes – It’s great to have these around to help clean out a cut when soap is not easily accessible. Travelling also involves lots of germs, so you may want to keep these handy just to keep those little fingers germ free.
- Antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin) - Babies have skin like Wolverine from the X-Men, and usually heals from cuts and scrapes overnight like magic. Sometimes, your baby will need a little extra love to keep scrapes and cuts getting infected and speed up the healing process. I usually use Neosporin.
- Sterile bandages and tape - Since wounds heal faster with air contact, gauze and tape are usually better options than cute band-aids. Here’s a suggested mix of bandages: 5 3x3” and 4x4” sterile gauze pads, 1 roll of adhesive paper tape, a 3” or 4” roller bandage, and a variety of small adhesive bandages.
BURNS: Yikes my baby’s all red.
- Grab a washcloth and wet it with cool water (not ice – that’s too shocking for a baby) and place it on the burn to soothe the burn for about 10-15 minutes a couple times a day. Be sure to call the doctor for advice and ask whether you can give your baby Tylenol to ease the pain.
You can apply aloe vera gel or water-based lotion to relieve itching. Don’t use any petroleum, oil or butter based products like Aquaphor because they will all keep the heat from escaping.
- Sunblock and protective clothing – This emergency is of course the easiest to prevent. To keep your baby from getting toasted by the sun, be sure to apply sunscreen SPF 15 or higher for babies over 6 months. If you’ve got a younger babe, you’ll want bring sunhats, umbrellas, long sleeved clothing and plenty of fluids.
If heavy sun exposure is unavoidable and your child is under 6 months of age, I’d recommend California Baby sunscreen. Its fragrance free, non-chemical based, PABA free and perfect for sunny California days when your baby will probably catch some golden sunbeams by default.
- The phone number for the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.
A COUPLE OTHER ITEMS:
- Any prescription medication - If that’s what the doctor’s ordered, you’ve got to bring it. Make a copy of the prescription and make sure that it has your doctor’s contact information on it as well so that you can easily refill the prescription if it spills or you run-out while traveling. Don’t forget your medicine droppers if you need it.
- Baby one-pager: This is a one page of everything you or anyone will need to know if your baby gets seriously injured. Include the baby’s medical history, immunization records, insurance carrier, and contact information for the baby’s doctor and emergency contacts in case the parents are unavailable.
- Lotion and lip balm – Baby skin and lips will often get chapped and dry. I usually carry a sample size of Aquaphor or Cetaphil to help lube up my little one.
- Hydrocortisone provides relief from rashes, insect bites and sunburns.
- A pocket guide on how to handle baby medical emergencies like MEDBASICS. We all know what to do on a daily basis and my guess is you're not administering emergency care to your child very often. The MEDBASICS guide walks you through "what to do" in emergency situations like choking and CPR.
- Something to keep your little one distracted - stickers, a little toy, pictures of family.
Safe travels to you and baby.
Baby's First Aid Kit Checklist
Co-author Tara Summers Hermann is a Registered Nurse, BSN. She teaches infant and children’s CPR and first aid courses in NYC. Her husband, Luke is a medical doctor and board certified in Emergency Medicine. Together, they created Baby MEDBASICS, a provider of baby medical emergency handbooks.
updated: June 14 2010 by thelees3