Ask Dr. Breanne Pacheco Shah: First-aid kit
Updated: Oct 1, 2020
I’m thrilled to reintroduce my good friend Dr. Breanne Pacheco Shah, pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I’ve featured Dr. Shah previously where she addressed my pressing constipation 💩 and children’s vitamins 💊 questions. Today, she indulged me in answering, “What should I have in my first-aid kit at home and what should I have handy while outside?”
Q: What first aid should parents have at home and accessible while outside?
Dr. Pacheco Shah:
At home, we have a first aid drawer and a med bin (stored in a cabinet that the girls can't get) for injuries and sick days.
In the drawer I have basic first aid supplies:
Sterile bandages (preferably nonstick)
Bandaids in an assortment of sizes
Petroleum jelly like Vaseline or Aquaphor
Topicals like hydrocortisone, gold bond or calamine for irritated skin. My new fave is Gold Bond with lidocaine for those painful, itchy bug bites or skin rashes.
In the med bin, we have the staples for treating pain, fever and allergic reactions:
Diphenhydramine (both liquid and pill forms)
Liquid form of a longer lasting antihistamine like cetirizine for less concerning allergies.
There is no evidence that over the counter cough and cold medications actually help children and are not recommended under the age of 5-6 years but anecdotally parents sometimes feel that these work.
I keep the following in my purse or diaper bag:
Small tube of sunscreen
Small bottle of bug repellent
Hand sanitizer (now more than ever)
Wet wipes or cleansing cloths
Spray on antibiotic ointment
Bandaids (multiple sizes)
Ibuprofen and Tylenol pills (liquids are too difficult to take)
In the car I have a small first aid kit/emergency kit:
More of the above plus some bandages, tape and then emergency supplies like flashlight, space blanket and matches.
If you want to be really comprehensive about it, the American Red Cross keeps a list on their website of necessities for an emergency kit for a family of four.