Keeping your family well on the move – First Aid essentials
Marking World First Aid Day on 8 September, we are sharing with you this special edition of family travel advice focused on how you can be prepared as a parent with your own first aid kit for minor ailments.
In this post, we will walk you through what we think are the absolute essentials every parent should travel with, the best way to carry your first aid gear, and some pre-prepared first-aid kit options that are compact but efficient for family travel.
This is part of our Family Travel Advice Series – see more great tips on how to travel with your kids and products to make your travels easier.
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What sort of bag should you pack for first aid kit in to?
We take two – one is very small and light with our essentials that can be clipped inside our day bag, and one larger bag that travels with our toiletries. The actual bag you use makes little difference unless you are travelling carry-on only and bringing liquid medicines, then taking a TSA-approved toiletries punch might make sense.
What are the most important first-aid items to pack?
Unless you are travelling to quite remote places, you will have access to a pharmacy or at worst a medical clinic or hospital so you really only need the essentials to deal with minor ailments. The more remote you get though, you are likely to want to take a few more extensive items with you to suit your conditions.
There may be more items listed here than you realistically need, but you should give some thought to:
- Bandaids / Plasters – in every shape and size, because ouchies happen ALL.THE.TIME.
- Steriwipes – deeper wounds should be cleaned.
- Panadol/Ibruprofen – Note children under 12 are unlikely to be able to swallow tablets and will need liquid and a syringe.
- After bite cream/lotion – instant insect bite treatment. Try Green Goo as it comes in a solid stick so can pass through security with it.
- Motion sickness – you never know when this might strike; Get the suckable type if kids can’t swallow and note some may make children quite drowsy.
- Anti-diarrhoea medication – one of our most common traveller ailments, again look for the suckable variety.
- Antihistamines – new environments can bring on all new allergies and associated ailments, look for the liquid variety for kids. Note some of these also can make children drowsy, or in rare cases hyperactive.
- Corn pads – great for shoe rub and blisters, especially if you have a lot of walking planned.
Related Reading: Sun and heat protection for babies 0 to 12 months
Other essentials/toiletries to consider in your family packing
Some small essentials we always slip in somewhere between toiletries and first aid kits include:
- Hair bands
- Lip balm
- Safety pins
- Small scissors
- Hand sanitizer
- Cotton buds
- Nail clippers
Related reading: 7 Steps to Stress-free packing: our techniques revealed!
Items to Buy Only When Needed
Supplies that we find useful but feel we can save space on unless we know they’ll be needed
- After Sun lotion – hopefully not needed if sunscreen has been applied correctly; we would only bring this with you if you know your family is very susceptible to sunburn, or it could be adding quite a bit of weight to your luggage.
- Thermometer – unless you’re a new parent, most of us can take a pretty good guestimate when our child is overheating or has a fever. If they are running a high fever that is not brought down by paracetamol or Ibuprofen, then a visit to a pharmacy or doctor will be necessary to ensure you are treating the right ailment.
- Bandages – if anything needs more than a bandaid, such as a sprain best to see a pharmacist. These are bulky items to add, so we avoid taking them and have only purchased them en route if necessary.
Pre-Packaged First Aid Kits
No time to make a first aid? If you don’t have time to gather all these items and would rather have an “all in one” travel first aid kit solution, check out these travel emergency kit options available on Amazon:
NB: Even if you buy a pre-packaged kit, take a look through the contents and familiarise yourself with what’s in it before you go. We have traipsed a lot of unnecessary items around the world.
First Aid Essentials Every Parent Should Know
So now you’ve got the kit packed. Do you actually know what to do with it? Most of us have probably undertaken some sort of first aid training at some point in our lives – be it during a Girl Guides class or a new parents course – but how long ago was that? Can you remember everything?
It never hurts to brush up on your skills, and World First Aid Day – annually on 8 September – is a fabulous reminder.
You can check out the work done by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent in teaching everyday people to deal with bleeding, burns, choking and much more here.
Other Top Family Travel Safety Tips
- Don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance. If the worst does happen, it will give you peace of mind that not only are your costs covered, but you will have access to a 24-hour support team wherever you are in the world.
- Keep the insurance hotline number with you! And it pays to research the emergency services phone numbers at your destination and where you will find your nearest emergency hospital, especially in a country where you do not speak the language. (Our First Aid Checklist includes a cut-out section for noting these details).
More travel advice for families
- Travelling Pregnant? Latest Zika Virus information.
- Travelling with allergies? See our interview with a nut allergy-suffering family and their top tips for travel.
- You can see all our health travel advice here.
Do you have any other must-pack items that always make it into your emergency travel kit?
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Disclosures: We are not medical professionals. Please seek your own medical advice if you have any concerns travelling with a particular ailment. Some recommended items on this page contain affiliate links which may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our full disclosure policy here.