Being prepared is arguably the most important aspects of planning a trip. From confirming reservations with hotels, or checking all your camping equipment prior to pitching a tent and setting up, planning ahead can prevent a lot of stress and frustration down the road.
For me and my family, one of the things I have come to accept is that sometimes my children love to explore, and if I allow them to do so, there is a small chance they may get hurt. I’m not talking letting them run alone in the woods without supervision, but instead, small cuts and scrapes that are often inevitable and completely unavoidable. This is especially important to consider when camping because if they sustain a cut or large scrape, it is very important to keep it clean and prevent any sort of infection, which can be difficult when all they want to do is play in the mud and swim in the water!
In this article, I just want to describe our family safety kit that we take backpacking with us, which is a product of months of collecting little nik-naks that I can keep in one central location and easily bring with me on any trip. You may have something very similar in your own home, but I would like to share the bits and pieces of mine in case it helps provide you with any ideas.
- Bag – First, I find it highly convenient to have all my little safety and first-aid items in the same spot. While any sort of bag will work, such as a grocery bag, I find it best to look for a nice medical bag that has a lot of pockets and can help keep your stuff away from water and the elements. These are also great for keeping things organized, so you can find what you need as quickly and easily as possible.
- Lots of Band-Aids – Pack lots of Band-Aids because you can never have too many! If possible, try and pack a variety of sizes to accommodate anything from small cuts on the finger to larger gashes on the knees or elbows. Some gauze is always useful, but in this case, just make sure you have a small roll of tape to go with it.
- Scissors – If you need to cut gauze or tape, a small pair of scissors will go a long way and won’t take up much room in your bag. These are usually very small and cheap and can be found in many stores or online.
- Alcohol Wipes – As I mentioned above, keeping wounds clean to avoid infection is very important, especially when camping. Alcohol wipes will last a long time since they are sealed, and they take up the least amount of space in your bag. Highly convenient and cheap, they are a must-have in any medical bag.
- Ibuprofen and Tylenol – These may be a little trickier just in terms of size, and you will want to keep an eye on expiry dates, but it’s usually really easy to find small travel-size bottles or packages of ibuprofen and Tylenol. These can help reduce inflammation and pain, and they aren’t just effective for cuts and scrapes, but can also be used for muscle pain, stomach pain, headaches, etc. They can really help save a trip!
- Aloe Cream – A small travel-size bottle of lotion with aloe isn’t the highest priority, but if you have room, I definitely suggest packing some. Not many people plan to get sunburns, so when you or your kids suffer one, it can make a huge difference having some nice soothing cream with aloe vera, which is known to help treat sunburns. I’ve used mine at least a few times over the last year.
- Sanitizer – If you don’t want to go through all your alcohol wipes quickly, having a small bottle of hand sanitizer can help prevent infection from the person you are treating, and also help clean your hands after the fact, so you don’t have to worry about spreading germs when eating. This is also great for camping if you are running low on a clean water source and want to make sure you have clean hands before eating.
Am I Missing Anything?
These are all the items that I have in my medical bag at all times. Sometimes I have other things like Tums or Pepto Bismol, but I often forget to replace them after using them. If you can think of anything that you find essential for your safety kit, please let me know, and if you would like, I will be happy to pass along the information!