First Aid Kit Essentials for the Traveling Family

Kelsey P. Gonzalez September 16, 2010 1 Comment

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First Aid Kit

Photo courtesy of faqs.org

I was at the park with our 14-month old son one day when he suddenly toddled off the sidewalk and into a pile of particularly malicious woodchips. (By the way, why cities decide to use woodchips around playground equipment is beyond me. They not only cut, scratch, and leave splinters but they’re also extremely tempting for little mouths). At any rate, I made a wild grab for my little one when I saw him lose his balance but to my great dismay, I missed and he landed face first in the woodchips. When I pulled him up again a second later the entire right side of his face was one big scratch. I hurried for my diaper bag to clean him up but the only thing I had with me at the time was a package of diaper wipes. They did the job well enough to hold things over until I could get home but it was right then and there that I realized (as perhaps I should have much earlier) that my diaper bag needed to contain a lot more in the way of first aid supplies than just wipes. We would be leaving for Disneyland in a few days’ time and before we went, I put together a true first aid kit; one that was specifically assembled with my toddler in mind.     

I must say that up to that time, we’d been extremely lucky in the illness and injury departments. Our son didn’t get sick once until he was almost 16 months old and despite the fact that he was walking before his first birthday, that day at the park was his first real fall.  Although we traveled quite a bit, we’d always stayed within the U.S. and I figured that we could stop at the nearest store if something came up. Of course I’ve since learned that injuries and illnesses rarely happen at a convenient time or location; they strike in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar city, along a deserted stretch of highway, or at the farthest point of the trail on a hike. After each new encounter with a vacation sickness or boo-boo I discovered something more to add to my first aid supplies and today I’m happy to say I have a kit that has yet to fail me! The items below are what     

My Travel First Aid Kit

My Travel First Aid Kit

I’ve found to be true essentials for the traveling family.     

1. Fever reducer/pain reliever. I always carry two different kinds of these with me: a children’s acetaminophen, and a children’s ibuprofen. Since these can be alternated to help bring down a high fever I make sure I bring both when we travel. They became a life saver when my son became sick while we were attending a wedding in Acapulco.     

2. A medicine syringe. These make taking the above medications (or any others that you may end up needing) much easier. Not only do they provide a far more accurate dose than a spoon can, they dispense the medicine much better. Since the tip goes directly into the child’s mouth, it prevents most of the spills and dribbles. I always asked for one when I picked up my son’s prescriptions at the pharmacy but they can also be purchased in the first aid sections of most stores.     

3. A thermometer.  Although I really love the thermometers that allow me to take a temperature from my son’s ear, I generally don’t travel with one. The smaller digital kind work best for trips since they don’t take up as much space. They also work better for babies and very young children since they allow you to take a temperature in a variety of places!     

4. An allergy medication. The type of medication you bring will depend on your child’s age and your doctor’s recommendation. Our son went through a period where he’d break out in hives for no discernable reason and I took the medication my doctor suggested everywhere just in case they hit while we were away from home. Of course this medicine also comes in handy for any other allergy symptoms that may be brought on by a new environment!     

5. Alcohol wipes. Perfect for cleaning out cuts and scrapes!     

6. Band-aids. For obvious reasons! I carry a variety of sizes.     

7. A first aid ointment. I love those “Neo To Go” packets made by Neosporin. They fit easily in a small kit and are perfect for a one-time use before putting on a band-aid.     

8. A bulb syringe. Not so important for older children but a must for little babies!     

9. Hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes. These are great when you need a hand-washing but there’s no soap or water near by. We’ve found them to be especially useful at amusement parks, picnics, and on camping trips!     

10. Children’s nail clippers. They may seem like a strange addition but I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed them!     

11. Gas drops or gripe water. I never left home without them when our son was a baby and now they’re back in the kit for our newborn daughter!     

My Mini First Aid Kit

My Mini First Aid Kit

While these items (and any others your family may need) can be carried in a hard-sided first aid kit, I’ve found they also fit nicely in one of those plastic, zippered travel bags usually used for toiletries. They work great for trips because they take up less space and since they’re soft, can be squished into an already full suitcase.     

In addition to this larger travel kit, I also have a small one that fits easily in my purse or diaper bag. I picked up this miniature first aid kit in the section of the drug store where they stock the other travel-sized toiletries. In it I keep a few band-aids, a couple packets of “Neo To Go,” and some alcohol wipes. With both my first aid kits in tow, I feel safer knowing that I’m prepared to deal with whatever cold or cut we may encounter!

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Kelsey lives in Southern Utah with her husband, their 3-year old son, and their newborn daughter. They enjoy the adventure of exploring new places together and love building memories through family travel.

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One Comments to “First Aid Kit Essentials for the Traveling Family”
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