Having a first aid kit handy in your car, home or office prepares you for any and every situation. Creating a DIY first aid kit can be relatively simple and cost-efficient.
A first aid kit should include basic medical supplies like antiseptic, bandages, sterile dressings, aspirin, antibiotic ointment packets, a notepad, permanent marker and more; (see the full list below) as well as any specific medication you or your family might need in an emergency.
Like any medications you keep in the house, always store first aid kits out of the reach of children — this includes if you’re travelling. You’ll also need to check over your kit regularly to make sure packets are properly sealed, expiry dates haven’t been exceeded, and any used items have been replaced. We recommend keeping a checklist of your items so it’s easy for you to update.
If you’re going to make a DIY first aid kit, you might want to customise it depending on your needs.
- For at home use — consider adding extra items according to the number of people in your home.
- For the car or caravan — add a highly reflective (day/night) safety triangle and vest in case you’re near a road and traffic.
- For camping or boating — add heavy crepe bandages, instant cold/hot packs, disposable ponchos, plastic bags, whistle, compass, torch and glow sticks.
- For children — add extra items like a digital thermometer, basic pain reliever medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen and plastic syringes for accurate dosages.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up all the essentials you’ll need to create your own DIY first aid kit.
1. Adhesive strip dressings
For minor cuts and skin injuries.
- Elastoplast Sensitive Plasters, $4.99
- Elastoplast Assorted Plastic Plasters, $2.89
- Elastoplast Antibacterial Fabric Plasters, $3.99
2. Wound dressings
These can help to control bleeding and protect wounds.
- Euromed Medical Grade Adaptable & Soft Wound Care, $38.49
- Medpride Sterile Non-Adherent Pads, $27.89
- Elastoplast Non-Stick Wound Dressing, $5.49
3. Elastic (crepe) and non-elastic bandages
Elastic or crepe bandages are used to hold wound dressings in place and applying pressure and support. While non-elastic bandages are good for slings, holding splints and restricting movement.
- MEDca Medical Gauze Stretch Bandage Roll, $15.99
- Primacrepe Elastic Crepe Bandage, $9.49
- Healifty 4pcs Elastic Bandage Wrap, $35
- MEDca Gauze Bandage Rolls, $25.99
4. Adhesive tape
You’ll need adhesive tape to help secure dressings.
- 3M Medical Tape, $31.73
- Elastoplast Strapping Tape, $10.99
- Nexcare Micropore Gentle Paper Tape White, $4.49
5. Disposable gloves
Disposable gloves help to prevent infection.
Swabs are used to clean your hands, and patient wounds and the surrounding skin.
- HUNWEY Iodine Cotton Swab Medical Swabs, $34.27
- Flexiwipes Alcohol Swabs, $16
- Bodichek Alcohol Swabs, $8.49
7. Medical scissors
To cut dressings and bandages to size, or cutaway clothing, if necessary.
- Bindpo Bandage Shears Medical Scissors, $17.99
- MEDca Medical Bandage Scissors, $12.69
- Body Tools Blunt and Sharp Tip Nurses Scissors, $10.95
Essential for removing splinters, glass or any other kind of debris.
- VNDEFUL 6 Medical Stainless Steel Tweezers, $13.80
- KSTE Stainless Steel Tweezers, $13.02
- Fox Medical Equipment Professional Tweezers Set, $42.46
9. Saline Ampules
Saline (sodium chloride (salt) and water) is used to clean wounds and can be used to flush out minor irritants like dust, sand or even insects from the eyes.
10. Burn relief cream or ointment
If you don’t have access to cool running water, burn relief cream or gel is the next best thing to apply to minor burns.
To treat and prevent infection in minor cuts, wounds, abrasions, insect bites and minor burns.
- Bepanthen First Aid Antiseptic Cream, $8.99
- Medicreme Antiseptic Cream, $8.99
- Betadine Antiseptic Liquid Spray, $14.99
12. Face Masks
Given we’re in a global pandemic, face masks are a new and necessary addition to your first aid kit.
- Softmed Surgical Face Masks, $34.99
- Strapit SurgiMask Face Mask, $39.99
- REYNARD Medical 3-Ply Surgical Face Masks, $18.99
13. Sterile eye pads
Good to have on hand in case of eye injuries.
14. A thermal blanket
Thermal blankets help protect against the cold by trapping in body heat.
- MIXAMO Emergency Thermal Blankets, $9.99
- Don’t Die In The Woods Thermal Blankets, $35.28
- Timok Emergency Thermal Blanket, $30.32
15. A notepad and permanent marker
To write down details of injury or illness as it progresses until proper medical attention can be received.
16. A first aid booklet
That provides instructions and steps to follow in the most common emergency situations. You can buy one from the St John Ambulance Organisation here.