Jump to Tips Navigation
You don't want to get caught on the road without the right equipment in the case of an emergency, no matter how small. Why not take along a travel first-aid kit as a precaution?
This list, prepared by the American College of Emergency Physicians, will provide you with the necessary "tools" to handle many medical emergencies.
For the kit itself, a tote bag is recommended because it can hold all the items listed and is easy to carry. Never store your kit in your luggage.
Follow the same precautions with your first-aid kit as you would with any medicine. Store out of reach of children and only use products with child safety caps. Check expiration dates, and throw away any expired medicines. If someone in your household has a life-threatening condition or is under a doctor's care, carry appropriate medication with you at all times.
Emergency physicians also recommend that you take a first-aid class, learn CPR, and always seek immediate medical attention when you need it.
- Aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen: For headaches, pain, fever, and simple sprains or strains of the body. Have at least two aspirin tablets available at all times in case of heart attack, although use as recommended as by your physician. Use appropriate dosages, and make sure the medicine is age-appropriate. (Aspirin should not be used for relief of flu symptoms or given to children.) If traveling with children, add children's Tylenol.
- Antihistamine/decongestant cough medicine. To relieve allergies and inflammation. Use appropriate dosages, and make sure the medicine is age appropriate.
- Anti-nausea/motion sickness medication
- Bandages of assorted sizes, including adhesive bandages. To cover minor cuts and scrapes.
- Bandage closures (1/4-inch and one-inch sizes). To tape edges of minor cuts together.
- Triangular bandage. For wrapping injuries and making an arm sling.
- Elastic wraps. For wrapping wrist, ankle, knee, and elbow injuries.
- Gauze in rolls and two-inch and four-inch pads. To dress larger cuts and scrapes.
- Adhesive tape. To keep gauze in place.
- Sharp scissors with rounded tips. To cut tape, gauze, or clothes.
- Safety Pins: To fasten splints and bandages.
- Antiseptic wipes. To disinfect and clean wounds.
- Disposable, instant-activating cold packs. For cooling injuries and burns.
- Tweezers. To remove small splinters, foreign objects, bee stingers, and ticks from the skin.
- Rubber gloves. To protect hands and reduce risk of infection when treating open wounds.
- Thermometer with case. To take temperatures. For infants under age one, use a rectal thermometer.
- Petroleum jelly. To lubricate a rectal thermometer.
- Calamine lotion. To relieve itching and irritation from insect bites and stings and poison ivy.
- Hydrocortisone cream. To relieve irritation from rashes.
- Sunscreen. SPF15 or higher, broad-spectrum.
- Inspect repellent. Repellents appropriate for use on children should contain no more than 10-15 percent DEET and 20-30 percent DEET for adults, because the chemical, which is absorbed through the skin, can cause harm. Use as directed.
- Change for a pay phone or wireless phone.
- Basic first-aid manual/instructions.