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first aid kits

First Aid Kits

What would childhood be if it didn’t come with bumps, cuts and bruises? These are all part and parcel of exploring the world, learning to ride a bicycle, trying out skate-boards and climbing rocks and trees. We have all been there ourselves and will be there again with our own children so the question is “What should I have in my first aid kit”?


There are a number of first aid kits on the market which you can purchase. A lot of them have good products inside but from my experience there are items which should be included that often aren’t. There is nothing worse than being presented with a situation and not having what you need at hand.


I discussed the matter of a first aid kit with Sister Tillie Van der Westhuizen, of the wound care clinic at Mediclinic Morningside. Together with her expertise and my personal preferences I have come up with a suggested kit that is easy to assemble and will make tending to minor wounds and ailments easier.



So let’s begin with what your kit should include:

  • Gloves
  • Saline
  • Gauze

    first aid kit
    Getting started
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Cling wrap (small one about 20cm in size)
  • Jelonet gauze/ Cuticell
  • Cohesive bandages.
  • Melladerm Gel
  • Micropore 12mm and 48mm
  • Talfa (this is a pressed gauze with holes in it to put your gel onto)
  • Plasters- ones with “silver” in them aid with healing. They should have a broad sticky area so that they stay in place.
  • Burnshield
  • Paracetamol
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Eye-drops
  • Rehydration solution
  • Cream for insect bites/ stings
  • Insect repellent if you are going to a malaria area
  • Oral Antihistamine
  • Decongestant nasal spray
  • Anti-nausea medicine


****     Make sure that you check the expiry dates on all your products regularly. You don’t want to be in a remote place with items that are no longer useful.

****     Please ensure that your hands are clean before you start dealing with your patient.



So here are a few scenarios:


  1. Your child has grazed the skin of their knees:

  • Wash your hands and put on the gloves
  • Clean the wound with saline and gauze.
  • Use a light rolling movement. Do not wipe.
  • Cut the telfa according to the size of the wound.
  • Put the Melladerm on the shiny side of the telfa.
  • Put the telfa with the Melladerm onto the wound.
  • Cover the wound with gauze.
  • Cut strips of micropore and stick the gauze down to keep it in place.
  • You can wrap it in a cohesive bandage if necessary.
  • Remember not to suffocate the wound with a waterproof plaster. This will cause it to sweat and bugs may grow.



  1. Your child cuts their finger:

  • Wash your hands and put on the gloves
  • Clean the wound with saline and gauze.
  • Use a light rolling movement to clean. Do not wipe.
  • Cut the telfa according to the size of the wound.
  • Put the Melladerm on the shiny side of the telfa.
  • Put the telfa with the Melladerm onto the wound.
  • Cover the wound with gauze.
  • Cut strips of micropore and stick the gauze down to keep it in place.
  • Use a criss-cross shape across the wound with a cohesive bandage if necessary. This will put pressure onto the wound and help stop the bleeding.
  • If the cut is large you can use a sanitary towel to cover the wound. Strap it into place and seek medical help immediately.



  1. Your child gets a minor burn:

  • Wash your hands and put on the gloves
  • Do not clean the wound unless there is ash in it.
  • Do not pop any blister for the first 3 days (the white cells in the blister fluid aid healing and prevent scarring)
  • If you have access to cold water you can run cold water over the burn for 10 minutes. Do not put ice directly onto the wound. It will damage the skin further.
  • Fold your Jelonet in half (double) to keep moisture in. The Jelonet should be the same size as the wound.
  • Place your Jelonet straight onto the wound bed
  • Place Melloderm onto the shiny side of the Telfa.
  • Place over the Jelonet.
  • Cover with thick gauze and secure using Micropore.
  • Secure with a cohesive bandage.
  • Burnshield is a wonderful product for burns. If you have burnshield it can be applied directly to the wound. Burnshield does dry out so please cover it with your clingwrap and then a bandage.
  • If using Burnshield leave it on the wound for 24 to 48 hours. Thereafter check the wound. If it hasn’t healed please proceed with the Jelonet, Melloderm and Telfa as described above.
  • If for any reason you are unsure about the wound condition, please consult a medical practitioner.


  1. Your child gets sand in their eyes.

  • Flush the eye as soon as possible.
  • Have your child hang their head over a basin. Cup your hand so that the water runs into the eye. Do not splash the water.
  • If you are unable to use a running tap, use your saline to flush the eye.
  • If you are unable to get the sand out, cover the eye with gauze and your tape. This will help reduce the blinking.
  • Take the child to an emergency centre.


  1. Your child gets stung by a bee.

  • Get the sting out as quickly as possible.
  • Use a credit card, butter knife, tweezers or your nail. Avoid taking it out by pinching your fingers together. You are likely to squeeze more of the venom out when doing so.
  • Place Melloderm onto the shiny side of your Telfa. Cover the area.
  • Place gauze over the Telfa and secure in place with micropore.
  • You can give some pain medication if necessary.
  • An antihistamine is only necessary if there is a lot of redness and swelling.
  • Remember to be sure about the dose of the medication you give.




What about the rest?


If the wound is painful,  pain relief in the form of paracetamol or ibuprofen may be given. Be sure that you are giving the correct dose (dosages can be found under the temperature control listed below.

Do not give aspirin for pain relief as this can aggravate bleeding.

One could go on and on with scenarios and how to deal with them. For a few others you can refer to my webpage for info:

Head injuries

Temperature control

Vomiting and diarrhoea



Are there things I shouldn’t do?


  • Most importantly don’t panic.
  • Don’t disinfect the wound with alcohol, iodine, hydrogen peroxide. Each of these products burn and may dry out the wound.
  • Do not suffocate a wound with a waterproof plaster. If this is all you have try to replace it as soon as possible to avoid bugs growing.
  • Do not allow a wound to dry out. It will form a scab and this may crack and leave a scar.
  • Do not put ice directly onto the skin. Ice can also burn.


When to get medical help?


One thing is for sure that there are no prizes for sticking out a difficult situation on your own. The point of first aid is to ensure that you can do something immediately if a family member gets hurt. I would recommend that you get medical help urgently under the following circumstances.

  • You cannot stop bleeding
  • If there is loss of feeling around the wound
  • If the cut is on the face particularly if it is close to the eyes
  • If there is a foreign body inside the wound.
  • If the wound has jagged edges.
  • If there is an increase in swelling, pain or redness.
  • If the person develops a fever.
  • If pus forms around or in the wound.
  • If there appears to be an allergic reaction to a sting or bite
  • If the injury is due to a human or animal bite.





There are so many  times you as a parent will have to deal with a medical situation. It is best to be prepared by having an up to date first aid kit which is easily accessible.

I highly recommend that all parents do a CPR course and ensure that they have a refresher course as necessary. The CPR courses prepare you for dealing with a host of potentially life threatening situations and equip you with the latest techniques and skills required when dealing with a medical emergency.

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