Just like a Guide, you should always be prepared – and that's doubly as important once you have kids.
Putting together a bunch of essential items for a first aid kit for your baby is vitally important. This will allow you to deal with minor incidents without having to scrabble around trying to locate what you need.
But what should you keep in your first aid kit? And do you need to get different items for your baby than your older children? We've outlined some of the basic essentials that you should keep close to hand. Gather them together and keep them in one box. The general advice is not to store this in the bathroom where the steamy environment can alter their efficacy. You could think about preparing a second smaller kit to keep in your nappy bags - with creams, plasters and the like. And maybe a travel baby first aid kit in the car too. Obviously, it goes without saying that all items should be kept out of reach of small hands.
Please do always seek medical advice if you're dealing with anything more than a minor scrape.
1. Digital Thermometer
Your first aid kit should definitely contain a thermometer and a digital one is easy to use. With babies and children under five, you should use your thermometer under the arm. Place it in the armpit and keep there for as long as the manufacturer recommends. For very young babies avoid using an ear thermometer – if you don't get this positioned in the ear correctly (and let's face it, little ears make this tricky) you can get a false reading. A normal temperature in babies and children is around 36.4C, and if it's 38C or above then it's a high temperature.
2. Children's Pain Relief
Keep to hand a bottle of pain-relieving medicine so you're prepared if they develop a high temperature, earache or a headache. Paracetamol can be given to your baby if they're aged over two months and weigh more than 8.8lbs. Ibuprofen-based products can usually be used if your child is over three months and weighs more than 11lbs. Always read the bottle carefully and make sure you're giving the correct dosage for their age. Don't forget to keep a spoon or syringe with your first aid kit so you can easily give them the medicine.
3. Calamine Lotion
A soothing lotion is great for tackling everything from sunburn, skin irritations right through to general itchiness. Calamine can help relieve itching but it may also dry out the skin so make sure to use plenty of emollient cream to counter this.
4. Antiseptic Cream
Antiseptic cream is a staple of any first aid kit for children. Should your baby suffer a cut, graze or minor scrape you can carefully clean the wound area and apply the cream to help prevent infections.
You may as well stock your first aid kit up with plasters - over the years you'll go through plenty. Keep a variety of sizes and shapes to suit different areas. If you prefer not to use a plaster you can also use lint-free dressings cut to size to fit where you need. Look for plasters that allow the skin to breathe to allow for better healing.
6. Antihistamine Cream
Pop a tube of antihistamine cream in your first aid kit to deal with any bites and stings. Use it a couple of times a day to take the sting out of irritation.
7. Sterile Antiseptic Wipes
Make cleaning-up minor accidents a breeze with antiseptic wipes. Individually sealed you can be confident they're sterile and they can be disposed of when you're done. Never clean inside the wound, just the area around it. And before covering a cut or graze make sure the area has been cleaned.
8. Eye Bath/Saline Solution
Conjunctivitis is a common childhood ailment so be prepared with some saline solution to gently clean the eye area. Soak a cotton wool pad and gently wipe across the eye, using a new pad for each eye. If you do run out you can use cooled, boiled water instead. An eye bath is a useful addition too, so you can flush out dust or debris from the eyes if needed.
9. Vapour Rub
First aid kits for babies shouldn't be without a vapour rub. It's one of the most versatile items you'll use. If your baby is snuffly it can be rubbed on their chest to help ease congestion. It can also be dissolved in a bowl of hot water to create your own steam bath. Some brands shouldn't be used on under-twos so check before you buy.
10. Tweezers & Scissors
Babies can and will get splinters so keeping a pair of tweezers handy will ensure parents can remove them safely. Likewise, a pair of scissors will make cutting dressings to size easy and means parents won't resort to tearing medical tape.
Sometimes a plaster just won't do - either the wound is too big or a plaster not secure enough, especially on a baby. Keep plenty of dressings and bandages in baby first aid kits which can be cut to size if needed. Look for lint-free options if you are applying directly to a wound and change regularly.
12. Cold Packs
The cold pack is another essential for your first aid kit for babies. But this is one of the items you may like to keep out of the first aid kit itself. Keep a couple of cold packs in your freezer ready to grab to soothe bumps and bruises, as an extension of your first aid kit. Baby bumps can be soothed with minimal fuss.
13. Arnica Cream
Despite all your best efforts it will be near on impossible to keep them totally safe. Bruises will be one of the situations you'll face regularly, particularly as your baby starts to explore their environment. Bruises will resolve themselves but you can use arnica cream to help speed up the healing, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
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