What to pack in your car's first aid kit
It's important to have a first aid kit in your vehicle, particularly if you're setting off on a long trip. From everyday first aid basics to emergency items you may need on a road trip, we look at what to pack in your car's first aid kit.
It's recommended to have a first aid kit available in the home, at work and in the car at all timesi. Injuries such as cuts and burns, but also allergies or motion sickness can make your road trip unpleasant, especially in remote areas without easy access to medical services. This makes it important to be prepared for medical emergencies - big or small - while on the road.
Basic first aid items
You can purchase a variety of basic and comprehensive first aid kits from your local pharmacy or from providers such as Red Cross Australia or St John's Ambulance Australiai. However if you would like to make up your own you can tailor the contents to suit your and your family's needs. A first aid kit, kept in a resealable waterproof bag or container, should containii,ii:
- An easy to read first aid manual
- Notepad and pencil
- A selection of adhesive dressing strips or "bandaids" of various sizes
- Non-adhesive dressings to apply to burnt or grazed skin
- Cotton-gauze swabs, for cleaning wounds and placing over non-adhesive dressings
- Triangular calico bandages to use as slings or to hold splints
- Crepe stretch bandages of varying widths to compress injuries and hold dressings in place
- Compress dressings to help control bleeding
- Non-allergenic adhesive tape and safety pins to hold bandages in place
- Sterile tubes of saline solution (at least 10mL) to wash wounds
- Antiseptic cream
- Ointments that reduce the itching and inflammation of insect bites
- Hydrogel solution for treating burns if no cool water is available
- Alcohol swabs
- Disposable gloves, preferably of non-latex material and in medium and large sizes
- Hand sanitiser
- Rust-resistant tweezers
- Rust-resistant scissors
- Thermal blanket
- Instant cold pack
- A hand towel or packet of tissues
- Several resealable plastic bags
- Resuscitation mask or face shield for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Road trip essentials
Although the contents of a basic first aid kit will certainly come in handy if someone needs a cut dressed or a sprain treated, it's also beneficial to be prepared for some common ailments which can afflict car drivers and passengers. Motion sickness, headaches, hay fever and stomach upset can all make a road trip unpleasant. After discussing with your GP which treatments are best for you and your family, as well as safe to use when driving, it's a good idea to add these non-prescription medications to your car first aid kit:
- A packet of painkillers to help treat headaches or muscle pains whilst driving
- Motion sickness medication, in particular ones that are child-friendly
- Non-drowsy hay fever medication
- Anti-diarrhoeal medication
- Sterile eyewash solution to flush dust, insects, sand or similar items from the eye - you should never try to remove an embedded foreign object from the eye yourself, instead see a medical professional urgentlyi.
You can include other medications or treatments specific to you and your family's medical requirementsii, for example an EpiPen for severe allergies, an asthma puffer for asthmatics or insulin pens for diabetics.
If you need to administer roadside first aid, there are a few items that will improve the safety of the situation. In the unfortunate event of an accident or breakdown, these items will also help. It's recommended to keep the following items alongside your car's first-aid kitiii:
- A torch and spare batteries, which will be essential if you need to administer first-aid on the road at night-time
- A reflective triangle to warn other vehicles that your car is stopped and to make it easier for emergency services to see you
- A woollen blanket to keep you warm and comfortable while waiting for assistance
- A couple of bottles of water and some snacks; these are particularly important supplies to have while waiting for roadside assistance in a remote areaiv.
Check your first aid kit periodically and before a big trip to ensure that all medications and solutions are in datei. Promptly replace any first-aid items you usei - keeping an inventory of the contents could help you maintain a well-stocked first-aid kit.
Having a first aid kit that is tailored to you and your family's needs is important if someone suffers an injury or falls ill while on the road. This is particularly true if you're driving off-road or in remote or rural areas like the mountains or the country, where you may not have easy access to medical services.
A first aid kit for your vehicle is a fundamental part of being prepared for when things don't go to plan, as is ensuring that your vehicle is adequately covered by car insurance. Get a quote from Allianz today!