This page offers information on what classes you can take to be safe and ready to help your family in all contingencies. You can also find info here on putting together your own first aid kit. First aid and CPR should never be taught on a web site in my opinion. Hands-on teaching is always the best way to learn.
CPR - Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation CPR classes are offered by the American Red Cross and many other organizations. These classes are inexpensive and will only take an afternoon or two of your time. I recommend that you take 'Infant CPR' as this will teach you lifesaving techniques for infants, children, and adults. I have used one of the techniques I learned in this class to clear my child's airway on more than one occasion and I can't imagine how I could have helped my child without this wonderful course.
First Aid There are many classes you can take to learn first aid. I took a semester long course at a community college to become an EMT (emergency medical technician - able to work on an ambulance). This was one of the hardest classes I have ever taken - but it was certainly worth the effort! We don't all have the time to take an intensive course like this one, but there are some really great short classes that will do just fine with every day family emergencies.
My husband took a three day course to become a 'first responder'. He is trained to care for sick or injured people until an ambulance arrives. You do not need training as in depth as the two courses described above ( but it can't hurt if you have the inclination!). Basic first aid classes are offered in most communities and are quite reasonable in price. This training gives you valuable knowledge in caring for a sick or injured individual, but it also can give you the confidence to respond properly in an emergency situation. People with no training tend to panic and this can frighten an injured child (or adult) and you may hamper professional help for your family member.
First Aid Information for Children It's always a good idea to teach your children about first aid. For very young children, just give them a tour of your first aid box. Show your child each item in the box and tell them what each item is for and why you may need it. Explain the importance of always bringing a first aid kit. I did this when my son was two.
As your child gets older you can point out potentially dangerous situations and tell your child how you would help them if they got hurt that way. After a while you will be able to tell a child an injury and see what they suggest you do to treat it. This can be a fun (and very useful ) game. There are first aid classes for older children interested in baby-sitting - and these are a great way for a child to learn first aid as well as earn some money! Teaching children how injuries happen as well as how to treat them can prevent accidents on your family outings. A child who knows first aid is less likely to panic if injured and is more capable of explaining what is wrong. It is not always the child who gets hurt and your life could someday depend on what you teach your child now!
For an excellent selection of First Aid kits that are ready to purchase, try Altrec.com
Try the Outdoor Safety Checklist to see how you're doing!
Packing your first aid kit Here you will find a list of the things my first aid kit doesn't travel without along with explanations on what all this stuff is for! If you would like a short version of this list without all of the commentary to print out click here.
A good first aid manual (Red Cross has a great one)
Small knife or multi-use tool - some of these come with tweezers.
Tweezers (If your knife doesn't come with them)
Emergency blanket - Wool gets wet and can smell bad. You can buy an emergency blanket that weighs next to nothing and can be packed into a very small space. These are also called space blankets.
Razor blade - great for cutting out splinters
Magnifying glass - This is great for starting a fire as well as finding stingers and such
Matches/lighter - If you get matches make sure they are the special ones that can get wet and still work
Small mirror - metal is best, you can signal for help using a mirror
Thermometer - I use the thermometers that look like a small black plastic strip and work like a mood ring. These are small enough to fit in a Band-Aid box and can not break so there is no danger from broken glass or mercury poisoning. There also work on all ages - no rectal thermometer needed!
1 Instant Cold Pack - Use to prevent heat exhaustion and as a cold treatment for burns, bruises, sprains, swelling, headaches and toothaches.
1 Sterilized Water Packet - 4 ounces of sterile, purified water. Use for drinking or to clean a wound. 5 year shelf life.
Medical tape - Scotch makes a lovely brand that comes on a tape dispenser
Needle and thread
Safety gloves - You never know when you may come across someone who needs help. Please be careful and always use gloves!
Band-Aids - get a box with lots of different sizes and shapes
Eye dressing - big sticks love to poke little kids in the eye. Be prepared!
Elastic wrap bandage
Triangular bandage - for injured arms and shoulders
Gauze pads - bring lots! If anyone is injured there will really come in handy
Large compress bandage
Lip Balm (with sun protection)
Neosporin - I like the version with the topical pain reliever in the ointment - it's great for kids with painful booboo's
Tylenol or other adult pain reliever
Non-asprin pain reliever for children
Dimatap or other decongestant for children
Antihistamine for adults
Salt tablets - especially important if you are going someplace hot!
Sea-sickness pills, patches, or wristbands (we use the wristbands and they work quite well) - if you go for pills, seek the chewable kindp>Antacid tablets - Tums or Rolaids are nice, but Zantac seems to work much longer. Just remember that you can't mix Tums or Rolaids with stuff like Zantac
Prescription medicines and your prescription numbers so you can reorder just in case!
Iodine - can be used to make safe drinking water as well as killing germs on boo boo's
Calamine lotion - especially important in places with poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac
Contact lens supplies - Saline solution is great for rinsing out dirt and debris in eyes too. If you wear disposable lenses, always bring a spare pair
Moleskin/2nd Skin - makes the blisters feel like new!
Towelettes or wipes
Sunscreen - this stuff is not intended for babies under 6 months old
If you can think of anything I need to add to this first aid kit, please contact me!