Just like a spare tyre, a fully stocked travel first aid kit is essential for any trip during the Christmas holidays. First aid kits carry vital tools and equipment that might help save a life during an emergency. But are you familiar with what’s in your kit?
Here are some quick tips on getting the most out of your travel first aid kits and being prepared for the worst. Remember to ask your pharmacist for advice on putting together your customised first aid kit.
Get a kit with the basics
A first aid kit should be stocked with the basics such as bandages, dressings, gloves, adhesive tape and scissors.
Kits could also include tweezers, sick bags, gauze, a first aid booklet, large dressing pads and saline solution. Most pharmacies stock a range of first aid kits in various shapes and sizes. If you’re unsure about what kind of first aid kit you’re after, ask your local community pharmacist.
Customise your kit
Not all kits will suit your particular travel needs, which is why you need to add a few extra things to make it an essential travel item. Think about who you are travelling with, what health conditions they may have, their age and whether they have any allergies. If you’re travelling with babies, your kit may need extra items such as a digital thermometer, basic pain reliever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen and plastic syringes for accurate dosing.
Also think about where you will be travelling. First aid needs differ between hiking, bike riding or swimming. For the car first aid kit, a highly reflective safety vest can be useful for traffic or busy roads. For campers, adding instant cold packs, disposable ponchos, plastic bags, whistle, compass, torch and glow sticks could help if you’re in a remote area.
Make the kit accessible
Kits should be stored in a dry cool location and be easily accessible. Medicines in the first aid kit may get damaged if exposed to high temperatures in cars parked in the sun. Medicines exposed to high temperatures should be safely discarded.
Everyone in the family should know where the kit is at all times in case of an emergency.
Regularly check use-by dates
Some items in kits, such as sterile solutions or tablets may have a use-by date and need to be replaced periodically. Regularly check that items are in good working order, have not deteriorated and are within their expiry date.
Checking the kit after each use will help ensure it’s always ready when you need it. If you have never used it, then once every 12 months. If you’ve used an item always remember to replace it.
Complete a first aid course
If you want to make the best use of your first aid kit you need the right training. Knowing what to do in an emergency could help prevent further injury or even save a life.
Many training organisations offer first aid courses all around Australia and it shouldn’t be too hard to find one available close to you.