Summer Essentials: What Goes Into a First Aid Kit?

Keep these essentials handy on all your summer adventures

Summer is officially here and that means visits to the hospital are on the rise. With people spending more time outside, as opposed to in the office and kids playing around—sometimes unsupervised—instead of sitting in a classroom, accidents are bound to happen more often.

Related: Summer Dangers You Should Know About

Experts will tell you that the best method for dealing with potential accidents lies in prevention. Being prepared with both tools and knowledge won’t keep all accidents from happening, but it will help you deal with them as they arise.

One of the most important tools to carry along on all summer adventures is a well-stocked first aid kit, but it’s also crucial that you know how to use it. There are classes taught all over the country and there are tons of materials out there if you’re looking to learn the basics. Then it’s a matter of keeping a well-stocked kit and remembering to take it with you.

Store-bought kits are great for starters, but remember to tailor it to your specific needs. Be mindful of what you’ll likely use the kit for; think about where you’re going, how long the trip will be and how many people might need something from the kit.

Finally, here is what the Red Cross suggests for a group of four:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 space blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches) 
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet 

You’ll likely want to swap out some items depending on your needs, but this list is a great foundation.

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