An organised and properly stocked first aid kit can give you peace of
mind in a medical emergency. Being prepared could help you save a life.
Doing a first aid course is recommended to give you the knowledge and
skills to provide capable first aid assistance.
Buying a first aid kit is a convenient option.
First aid kits are sold in different shapes and sizes and for different
John Ambulance Australia and the Australian Red Cross sell first aid kits,
as do some pharmacies, service stations, large retail outlets, motoring
organisations and charities.
A basic first aid kit checklist
You can customise your first aid kit depending on the activities you do.
A basic first aid kit checklist might include:
bandages of varying widths
dressing strips (such as bandaids) in different sizes
dressing pads (10cm x 10cm)
stick dressing pads (7.5cm x 10cm)
steel scissors (sharp/blunt) 12.5cm
steel pointed splinter forceps (tweezers)
and permanent marker
resuscitation face shield
How do I customise my kit?
Once you have assembled a basic first aid kit, you can customise it
according to its intended use. For example, if it is:
use at home, add extra items according to the number of people in your
home and their age, such as thick crepe bandages if you have older
children who play sport or for use as a pressure immobilisation bandage
the car or caravan, add a highly reflective (day/night) safety triangle
and vest as you may be near a road and traffic
camping, add heavy crepe bandages, instant cold packs, disposable poncho,
plastic bags, whistle, compass, torch and glow stick
use on a boat, add a disposable poncho, plastic bags, whistle and glow
stick. If you are boating in waters where marine stingers are present,
include vinegar to pour over potential stings
babies, add extra items such as a digital thermometer, basic pain reliever
medications (such as paracetamol or ibuprofen) and plastic syringes for
- for known
medical conditions, add extra items, such as medicines and or equipment
you normally use to manage the condition.
When you have gathered all of the items for your first aid kit, it’s
time to buy a bag or container to keep them in. It doesn’t have to be expensive
or designed especially for first aid supplies, but it should be:
enough to contain all of the necessary items
as a first aid kit
of material that protects the contents from dust, moisture and
Where should I keep my first aid kit?
Keep your first aid kit in a safe, dry and accessible place, and make
sure everyone in your family knows where it is. First aid kits for cars,
caravans or boats should be secured so they don’t become ‘projectiles’.
How do I use the items in my first aid kit?
You must know how to use the items in your first aid kit before you need
dressing pads cover and pack bleeding wounds
dressings cover wounds and burns
blankets help manage body temperature
bandages provide light support for sprains and strains
crepe bandages immobilise joints and provide support
bandages can be used as a sling to immobilise injured limbs, or as a pad to control
bleeding or protect injuries
resuscitation face shields provide personal protection during mouth to mouth resuscitation
saline tubes or sachets are used to flush debris from eyes and clean minor
cuts and grazes.
If you are not sure what the items in your first aid kit are used for,
your first aid booklet
your first aid kit to a pharmacy and ask the staff for advice
a first aid course.
How do I maintain my first aid kit?
Well-maintained first aid kits are always ready to use. Make sure you:
items as soon as possible after they are used
the kit after each use or if not used, then once every 12 months
that items are in good working order, have not deteriorated and within
their expiry date. Ensure that sterile items are still sealed.