First Aid Kits Buying Guide

Emergencies  can happen anywhere at any time, so be prepared for the worst by putting together a first aid kit for at home, in the car and even for vacation .  By making your own kits, you can tailor the supplies to your surroundings--hiking in cold weather may require special items, for instance--or to the medical conditions of your family members. 

Take a look at these tips and basic supplies  to help you get started.


  • Categorize.  Assemble and label plastic resealable bags for separate categories of kit items.  Categories can include burn and blister kit, trauma, wound management, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications and topical medications.
  • Containers are key.   Choose a container that is durable, easy to carry and easy to open.  Also make sure that it has enough space for everything you need--plastic tackle boxes  are ideal since offer a lot of space while still being lightweight.
  • Check your kit regularly, and replace any supplies that have expired or are running low.
  • Buy one if you're short on time.  You can purchase a first aid kit from your local American Red Cross, or your local drug store may carry them.
  • Keep out of reach of children.  Store first-aid kits in places that are only accessible to adults to avoid potential child injuries and overdoses.

The Essentials

No matter what, there are some things that every first aid kit should contain.

Keeping Things Sterile


Over-The-Counter Meds

Topical Ointments

Prescription Meds and Supplies


Outdoor Survival

Medical Accessories


Other Uses

 Many first-aid items can serve more than one purpose, depending on the situation and/or environment. 

  • Adhesive tape and bandages can be used for all sorts of repairs.
  • Petroleum jelly-based ointments can be used as a lubricant for faulty mechanical devices.
  • Alcohol pads can be used as a fire-starting aid.

Related Guides

Emergency Road Kits

Travel Essentials

Outdoor Emergency Equipment

Smoke Alarms

Bridal Emergency Kits