First Aid Kit Buying Guide
Put safety first with first aid kits! Whether for your home, office, car or backpack, a well-stocked first aid kit can minimize the inconvenience of minor accidents and injuries. Make sure everyone in your family (and even babysitters and relatives) knows where you keep your first aid kit and how to use everything inside. Also consider having an emergency or disaster kit (for unexpected power outages, car failures and the like) in an easy-to-find location, just in case.
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Tips for Buying First Aid Kits
- Consider the need. First aid kits come in different shapes, sizes, and configurations. All-purpose kits are ideal for home and general office use. Based on who will be using the kit, decide if you need adhesive bandages and ointments only, or if you also want a first aid kit with pain medications, bandages for wrapping joint injuries or serious cuts, and other aids. There are also specialty kits for response to widespread disease and more severe traumas.
- Do a headcount. Pay attention to how many people the first aid kit is expected to treat so that it’s well-stocked and you don’t run out of important items too quickly. This is especially important if you’re buying a kit for an office or work space.
- Look for first aid kits with easy refills. Some first aid kits are designed to be easily replenished, with convenient refill packs available for the most commonly used items. For some people this is preferable to buying replacement items individually or having to replace the entire kit. Periodically check your first aid kit to make sure it has everything it needs.
- Take first aid with you. Remember to bring a portable first aid kit when you travel. Often smaller than a standard kit and intended for easy transport, some even come pre-assembled for excursions of various lengths and group sizes, in easy-to-carry packs or bags. If you have a first aid kit already, be sure to check it before trips so you depart prepared.
- Keep your kit fresh. Regularly check your first aid kit (and while you’re at it, your medicine cabinet too!) for product expiration dates. In addition to medicines and ointments, remember that bandages may lose their elasticity or stickiness if too old. If past the date, dispose of products properly and re-supply.
- Mix medications carefully. Remember, not all medications play well together, so use care if you plan to combine products. If you can’t find the information you need on or in the box, try the manufacturer’s website, or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
- Be prepared with personal & family emergency kits. In case disaster strikes, have an emergency kit in your home — and make sure everyone knows where to find it. Some handy items include, emergency blankets, light sticks, whistles, hand warmers and mini first aid kits. You can also find disaster kits with drinking water and high-calorie food bars.
- Get help if you need it. Know the limits of what you and your first aid kit can handle—for emergencies, seek medical attention by calling 9-1-1.
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