Summer officially kicks off this week and a lot of families have plans over the next couple of months.
While you’re having fun, remember that although you can’t always prevent summertime injuries, you can help treat them by having a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand. From cuts and scrapes to sprains and bee stings, be prepared with a pre-made first-aid kit—or create your own.
Pediatrician Dr. Pilar Bradshaw says even the simplest first-aid kit should contain Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes and ointment.
“It should have numbing spray if your kid has a burn or gets a cut or something else that gives them a lot of pain,” she says. “Also have some Tylenol, ibuprofen, Benadryl, some antihistamines in case your child is having an allergy or some sort of allergic reaction.”
If you have a family member with a history of severe allergic reactions, don’t forget an Epi-Pen. Include an ACE elastic wrap to wrap an injured arm, knee or ankle.
First-aid kit checklist
If you buy a commercially available first-aid kit, it’s best to make some custom additions such as your children’s prescription medications. Dr. Bradshaw says a first-aid kit should include:
- Elastic wrap for injured arm, leg
- Water to clean a wound
- Numbing spray
- Polysporin, double antibiotic ointment
- Your children’s prescription medications
- Tylenol, ibuprofen
- Benadryl, Claritin or other antihistamines
- Bug spray
- List of emergency numbers
For more ideas on completing your first-aid kit, see the American Academy of Pediatrics’ full list of recommended first-aid remedies.
Essentials not to overlook
Bottled water isn’t only a good idea for long trips, but it’s also helpful for cleaning wounds.
“Frozen water bottles are a fantastic item to bring along on a trip,” Dr. Bradshaw says. “Not only are they great as an ice pack, but as they thaw, they can be really nice to rehydrate yourself when you’re out and about in the summer heat.”
Dr. Bradshaw also says don’t forget sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and she recommends using a mineral-based formula on young children. Be sure to include insect repellent as well.
“It’s helpful to have spray that contains Deet to really keep mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness away,” she says. “I often tell parents to spray the Deet on clothes and let them dry, rather than spraying it directly onto your kids’ skin.”
Something a lot of people may overlook is having a printed or written list of emergency numbers in the first-aid kit.
“What if something happens to the adult and the kid needs to get ahold of loved ones or needs to call emergency help?” Dr. Bradshaw says. “Make sure those numbers are in the emergency kit and go over all these things you have in the kit as a family, so that everyone is aware.”
Keep your kit up to date
Be sure to refresh your first-aid kit each season, because some items may have expiration dates. Be aware that high temperatures in your car can diminish the effectiveness of some medications so they should be replaced regularly.
There’s no guarantee that your summer will be mishap free, but having a first-aid kit on hand will help if something does go wrong.