We’ve all heard it a million times; “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt”. Sometimes we get so engrossed in having fun that carelessness, clumsiness, and inattentiveness result in some sort of minor injury. Burns, bruises, cuts, scrapes and splinters always seem to be part of the camping or RV excursions, so before heading out, you’ll need to have a well supplied FIRST AID KIT.
Before I talk about first aid kits, let’s first talk about knowing what to do. Regardless if you’re RVing or living at home, everyone should be encouraged to take an American Red Cross First Aid Course. You should learn how to treat and care for minor injuries and wounds. If injuries are more severe, proper triage will buy precious time until you can get to a medical professional. Further, I also recommend getting (re)certified in an American Red Cross CPR Course for both children and adults. There may come a day when you are the only one available to render aid.
Where can I get a first aid kit?
Each first aid kit should reflect the activity and location that you may need it for. For example, around water activities (i.e. swimming, kayaking, boating, fishing, etc.), you’ll want to stock your kit with topical antiseptic cleaner, waterproof bandages, wraps and tapes. If you’re a hiker in rattlesnake country, you’ll want to include a snake bite kit and blister care, and if you’re a back-country backpacker, perhaps adding in a small splint or two and extra wraps.
Also, you may have read in a recent blog I wrote, ‘Storm Preparation for RVers and Campers’, I mentioned including a first aid kit in your GO BAG, even if it’s small like the ones below.
First aid kits can be purchased online, at most big box stores, pharmacies and even camping stores. They range in prices from $5-$100. You can buy pre-stocked kits that are designed for specific activities, such as hiking, camping or boating. Or if you prefer, you can make your own designed specifically to your family’s needs. Whether you buy one already pre-stocked or assemble your own, make certain it has all the contents you may need. Restock when necessary and make sure you keep track of expiration dates. A good rule of thumb is ‘if you open it or use it, replace it’.
What should be in your First Aid Kit?
If you decide to make your own, we’ve put together a recommended shopping list of supplies. You may enlist your age-appropriate children to help you gather the essential supplies and show them how and when to use them. Importantly though, keep first aid kit contents, especially sharp tools, OTC’s and prescriptions out of children’s reach if they’ve not been properly trained on how to use them. I also recommend putting your physician’s contact information inside the kit.
FIRST AID TRIAGE MEDICAL SUPPLIES:
- Antiseptic Wound Cleanser and/or Wipes
- Gauze Rolls (2″ and 3″ wide)
- Sterile Non-stick Gauze Pads
- Hypoallergenic Adhesive Tape
- Alcohol Swabs
- Antibiotic Cream/Ointment
- Calamine Lotion
- Hydrocortizone Cream
- Liquid Bandage
- Liquid Saline Solution
- Ice Packs
- Ace Bandage or Stretch Tape
- Cotton Swabs
- Medical/Surgical Gloves
- Anti-Inflammatory Pain Relief Medication (Ibuprofen, etc.)
- Aloe Vera Topical Gel
- Bottle(s) of Purified Water
- Small First Aid Manual or Info Cards
Your tools should be clean, sharp and dry. Replace as needed.
FIRST AID KIT TOOLS:
- Sewing Needle with Heavy Duty Thread
- Small Flashlight
- Safety Pins
- Sterile Sewing Needle with Thread
- Pocket Knife or Multi-Tool
- Oral Thermometer
- Surgical Scissors
- Irrigation Syringe
- Small Mirror
- Medical/Surgical Gloves (not latex)
- Disposable Surgical Mask
- CPR Mask (one-way valve)
- Eye Wash Cup
- Medical Waste Bag (plastic zipper bag)
Those are just the basics for general first aid. If you happen to be in more complex surroundings that may require more extensive treatments or special needs, our list extends to the following recommendations, but not limited to:
- EpiPen (prescription only for bee sting allergies)
- Snake Bite Kit (should be familiar with to be able to administer)
- Insect Sting Relief Treatment
- Prescription Medication (in proper bottles showing dosage)
You can mitigate some wounds, bites or stings before they happen (i.e. sunburn, blisters, infections, bug bites, etc.) by including ‘preventative care and health maintenance supplies’ with your first aid kit.
PREVENTATIVE CARE & HEALTH MAINTENANCE SUPPLIES:
- Insect Repellent
- Sunscreen (30+ SPF)
- Lip Balm (with SPF)
- Antibacterial Soap
- Hand Sanitizer
- Antibacterial Wipes
- Moleskin (to help prevent blisters or chafing)
- Anti-Chaffing Stick or Cream
- Sunglasses (with UV protection)
In closing, the important thing is to be be prepared for what ‘could’ happen on the road or away from home. Always stay calm and keep your injured calm. Having the first aid essentials necessary to mitigate further or more complex injuries will allow you to continue enjoying your RV or camping excursions.
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