first-aid kit for your car

Most drivers don't put adequate first-aid kits very high on their priority lists before taking trips. People tend to be more concerned with having a good stash of snacks and music for the road than preparing for worst-case scenarios. Many drivers consider their cell phones to be enough for emergencies because it enables them to call for help for any situation. But, what happens when immediate medical attention is needed and cell reception is bad? A basic first-aid kit should be in every car in case of minor injuries and emergencies because a cell phone is not always enough. Additionally, it is a good idea to keep a basic automotive repair kit with you for minor breakdowns.

For longer road trips, more than just these basic kits are should be kept in the car. When traveling to remote areas, a complete first-aid kit with all of the essentials for medical treatment could mean the difference between life and death in event of a serious accident or getting lost in the middle of nowhere.

The chances of needing a comprehensive first-aid kit may seem slim, but if you do find yourself in an unfortunate situation, you will be glad you had it. It doesn't take too much to put a kit together, and once you do it, you can put it in your car and you don't have to worry about it. Then you'll have the peace of mind in knowing that you're covered for all of your trips.

Putting a good first-aid kit together is much easier than it sounds. No advanced medical training is needed. You want to put together everything you would normally keep at home for emergencies into a compact kit for your car.
If you drive a small car that does not have much storage room, consider using a clear bag for your first-aid kit. A bag is easy to store in many places, like in the glove box or in a pouch behind the seat, even in a smaller car. Using a clear bag is best because it will make the first-aid kit easily identifiable to anyone looking for it.

For larger cars with accommodating storage areas, a larger box with organizational compartments, such as an art organizer or tackle box is ideal. These come in a variety of sizes, so select one based on the typical number of people you will be traveling with. If you travel with more people, you'll need more supplies. After you have figured how you store your first-aid supplies, you will need to obtain the flowing items:

Basic Medical Supplies

For any trip, long or short, you should have basic medical supplies.

  • Plenty of bandages in different sizes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Rolls of gauze in different sizes
  • Adhesive tape
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Finger splints
  • Instant cold packs
  • Chemical hot packs
  • Two pairs (or more) of synthetic or latex gloves
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Disposable CPR mask
  • Plastic bags to dispose of contaminated items
  • Plenty of different-sized safety pins
  • Scissors, tweezers and needles
  • Soap and hand sanitizer
  • Sterile saline solution for washing eyes
  • Thermometer
  • Some type of bulb suction device for wound flushing
  • A first-aid manual


Anytime you get in the car, you should have any prescription medications you use with you in case you get stranded. In your first-aid kit, however, you should keep a supply of the following:

  • Aspirin
  • Non-aspirin pain relievers
  • Antidiarrheal medication to prevent dehydration
  • Calamine lotion
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Any personal medications
  • Any drugs in case of an allergic reaction as prescribed by your doctor
  • Syringe, medicine cups and spoons
  • Bottled water

Emergency Items

Even on short trips, such as a work commute, you can find yourself stranded and in need of emergency items. Flash flooding or sudden snow storms leave drivers in need of the following items:

  • Cell phone with a car charger
  • A comprehensive list of emergency phone numbers including your doctor, pediatrician, local emergency numbers, emergency road side assistance, and regional poison control Poison Control Center.
  • Compact, waterproof flashlight with additional batteries
  • Candles and matches for getting stuck in the cold
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Mylar emergency blankets

Items for Infants and Small Children

When traveling with children, don't forget that they have additional needs.

  • Disposable diapers
  • Child-safe bug repellent
  • Children's sunscreen
  • Hot-water bottle

Items for Pets

Making sure your pets are covered in an emergency is important, too.

  • Pet's health records
  • Veterinarian's emergency number
  • Leash
  • Any medications
  • Muzzles
  • Rectal thermometer

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