Illustration of three children’s bandage-wrapped fingers.

Lorelyn Medina/

Grab-and-Go First-Aid Kit

Be proactive. Follow these what-to-pack guidelines, just in case…

Customize the kit. The essentials you keep on hand should be geared to the particular type of sport your child plays. For instance, in baseball, thrown bats and sliding into base can wreak havoc on arms, knees and ankles, calling for ice packs and stretch bandages. In a sport like track, where sprinting can subject legs to pulled muscles and feet to friction, elastic wrap bandages and blister pads are chief among the first-aid must-haves. Each sport carries with it its own risk of injuries, so familiarize yourself with the potential pitfalls.

Sort it all out. Have supplies separated and at-the-ready in clear, watertight, plastic storage bags with a zip-top for easy opening. Label each grouping (i.e., Topical Treatments) with a permanent marker for locating at a glance.

Keep it up-to-date. Check expiration dates; refill and replace supplies whenever they run low; and add items when new needs occur. A typed list taped inside the lid of a first-aid kit makes for a smart reference chart.

Pack it up. These recommendations, from Paul S. Auerbach, M.D., professor of surgery at Stanford University Medical Center and author of Medicine for the Outdoors, break down different first-aid items for different needs. 

General Supplies
•    First-aid manual or emergency/CPR flashcards
•    Bandage scissors
•    Oral thermometer
•    Wooden tongue depressors  
•    CPR mouth barrier or pocket mask 
•    Instant chemical cold pack(s)
•    Large sandwich bags (to hold ice for ice packs)
•    Blanket
•    Cell phone
•    List of emergency phone numbers (paramedics, hospital emergency room)

Wound Care
•    Elastic bandages in assorted sizes (strip, knuckle and broad)
•    Sterile gauze pads, large and small
•    Nonstick sterile bandages, assorted sizes 
•    Cloth, hypoallergenic and waterproof adhesive tape
•    Liquid soap
•    Sterile cotton-tipped swabs or applicators
•    Tincture of benzoin
•    Povidone-iodine 10% solution 
•    Swabsticks
•    Antiseptic towelettes

Splinting & Slings
•    Triangular bandage
•    Elastic wrap bandage
•    Splints (2)
•    Aluminum finger splints

Eye Care
•    Prepackaged individual sterile oval eye pads
•    Prepackaged eye bandages 
•    Metal or plastic eye shield
•    Sterile eyewash
•    Contact lens remover

Dental Supplies
•     Emergency tooth-preserving system

Topical Skin Preparations
•    Antibacterial ointment

Nonprescription Medications
•    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
•    Pain- and fever-reducer
•    Decongestant nasal spray 

Allergy Kit
•    Injectable epinephrine pen
•    Antihistamine