First aid essentials for your home

Caregivers can purchase ready-made kits or create their own using the checklist below

First aid essentials

Photo credit: Getty Images

From skinned knees to paper cuts and blisters, my active tree-climbing, hockey-playing kids seem to go through an astonishing number of Band-Aids.

Couple that with bug bites and bruises, and it feels like I’m constantly scavenging through our various unorganized medicine bins and boxes for something or other. In order to get our household better prepared for those injuries and fevers that always seem to happen when stores are closed, my goal this month is to toss out the old and expired and restock a home first aid kit with the essentials.

While you can’t prevent an injury or accident from happening, having an up-to-date first aid kit at home is the first step towards being better prepared for reducing the severity of an injury, preventing infection, or helping ease symptoms of the common cold.

While you can purchase ready-made kits, you can also create your own, or use the checklist below to make sure the one you purchase has all the items you need for common illnesses and injuries. 

Kit Supplies:

  • Emergency telephone numbers for EMS/9-1-1, local poison control centre, personal doctor and dentist
  • Home and work numbers for family members or neighbours
  • A basic first aid manual
  • Several pairs of latex-free gloves
  • Band-Aids in assorted sizes
  • Sterile gauze pads (small and large squares) and rolled gauze
  • Adhesive tape and scissors with a rounded tip
  • Instant cold packs
  • Premade finger splint
  • Elastic bandage (Ace bandage)
  • Cotton swabs and balls
  • Antiseptic wipes or soap
  • Digital thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Eye patches
  • Tick remover
  • Lollypops (useful as a distraction!)


(Check the exact dosage that is appropriate for your child. See your pharmacist if you need help)

  • Acetaminophen (ex: Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (ex: Advil)
  • A liquid antihistamine (ex: Benadryl)
  • Electrolyte solution (ex: Pedialyte)
  • Calamine lotion
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antibiotic treatment for external infections of the eye/ear
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Insect bite treatment
  • Saline wash

Tips for use

Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Kids recommends keeping a first aid kit in a central location so that it is easily accessible. Keep the contents at room temperature, and remember to check expiration dates of medications and replace when necessary. Show babysitters and older children where the kit is kept and consider keeping a basic first aid kit in your car. The Government of Quebec also provides information on disaster supply kits to keep in your home and car in case of an emergency.

A home’s kit should always be kept out of sight and reach of children and in a location with safety latches or where children cannot gain access.

If your child is unconscious, not breathing, or is having a seizure, call 9-1-1 immediately. If they have ingested a toxic product call the Centre antipoison du Québec (Quebec poison control centre) at 1-800-463-5060. This emergency telephone service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also contact Info-Santé at 8-1-1 if you need medical advice from a professional.

Consider taking a first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class. Some municipalities offer courses to residents, or you can contact Impact Santé, Protect Enfant, Formation Langevin or your CLSC for a course near you.