First Aid

A must-have for your home

A first-aid kit is an absolute must for every household. My mother used a self-assembled kit - several key supplies stored in a shoebox. We couldn't quite reach the top shelf in the closet where she kept the mysterious box full of forbidden things that children love to play with.

Things are different today. Mom and dad are both out in the workplace while the older children are home watching the younger siblings for long periods of time. This makes it necessary for a child to be knowledgeable and comfortable using a first-aid kit.

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Many resources are available for teaching children about first aid and how to use a first-aid kit:

The best teachers, though, are the parents, who can sit down with the child at leisure in the privacy and comfort of the home. Much depends on the age and maturity of the child. Older children should know where the kit is stored, but it should be out of reach of young children.

The parent or parents could devote two days or evenings to lessons per week as a learning process and also once a month as a refresher course until the child is competent and comfortable using the kit. Each session should last half an hour or so, depending on the attentiveness of the child.

The first session should be a "show and tell." Place all the articles on a table for the child to see while identifying each item and explaining the function. For example:

"This is a pair of gloves that you put on for any kind of episode with blood, vomit or diarrhea."

"These are tweezers for pulling out splinters."

If parents decide to allow the child to take or give medications, stick to the basics like Tylenol for fever, aches or pains; cough drops or syrup for colds; and over-the-counter medications for upset stomach and / or diarrhea. Never give a child aspirin.

The second session should be a "hands-on" approach, with the parent or parents and child practicing different emergency situations. You may waste some supplies in the process, but it's worth it in the long run. You can purchase first-aid kits at most drugstores, or you may choose to assemble your own.

Basic Contents

The basic contents of any first-aid kit should be:

Check the kit every three months and restock accordingly.

Finally, always tell the child to call mom or dad on the phone. The parent can calm the child, walk the child through the emergency and help prevent potential mistakes. When in doubt, call 911.

By Maureen Mallory