Welcome to parenthood, where you’re always worried about something! Ah, we joke, but there is an unwritten rule that first-time parents must experience an unexplained fever at 3 am at some point in the first 6 months of their baby’s life. And for that eventuality (and so many others) here’s what you need your home first aid kit to have.
Why Do You Need A Home First Aid Kit?
A first aid kit is the first step to helping someone who is injured at home. Most adults will have some sort of accident response kit, like adhesive bandages (plasters or Band-Aids), but when you have a baby you may need to formalise it somewhat.
A first aid kit helps to reduce the chance of infection, reduce trips to the emergency room for small, treatable injuries, and help to support more serious injuries before they can be seen by a doctor or nurse. “I cut myself quite badly with a knife at work. A bandage and wound dressing from the first aid kit was crucial in keeping the wound together until I could get to the emergency room for three stitches,” says mom and writer Sigrid.
Baby First Aid
One great way to prepare for bringing your baby home is to do a baby first aid course. Treating a baby who has stopped breathing or who is choking isn’t the same as it is for adults. Learning how to treat a tiny body quickly and confidently could be the difference between life and death you need on your side. Look online or ask your doctor if they know of anyone in your area who gives first aid courses.
Paramedic and first aid trainer, Carolyn Roode, recommends that you, “learn how to recognise an emergency. Fevers, rashes, a floppy or listless baby, or one that’s irritable shouldn’t be ignored. Keep emergency contacts to hand and never hesitate to call someone or head to the emergency room.”
Home First Aid Kit For Your Baby
Once you’re home, and on your own, you should ensure that you have a first-aid kit somewhere handy. You should also keep your healthcare practitioner, nurse and doctor’s numbers saved easily on your phone, so they’re handy when you really need them.
1. A thermometer: Ideally, a quick-read digital one, and make sure you know how it works before you have to use it at 3 am. The most accurate type for babies under 3 years old is rectal, but you can also use an infrared thermometer or a simple axillary digital one, that you place under the arm.
Just remember to adjust for axillary temperature, as it is slightly lower than the core temperature. “Newborns need very little. Don’t go out and buy a kit, it’s full of useless stuff. Make sure you have a thermometer on hand for those out-of-the-blue fevers,” says Carolyn.
2. Baby liquid paracetamol: For those unexplained fevers, paracetamol (Panado, Panadol, or similar) helps to bring down a temperature. Use plain paracetamol only for babies under 6 months, and follow the dosages militarily.
Once your baby is a little older, you can mix it up with a little Nurofen here and there, which can help with the inflammation caused by teething. “I like to alternate Calpol with Nurofen when my baby has a fever or is teething badly, it really seems to do the trick and help the most,” says dad and accountant, Conrad. If you’re worried about giving your baby medication, chat to your doctor or healthcare practitioner first. Carolyn also recommends homeopathic remedy, Viburcol.
3. A nasal aspirator: Babies can’t blow their own noses, so you may have to step in and help sometimes. Nasal aspirators can be a simple bulb-type or a more complicated one where you physically suck out the mucus (without actually inhaling anything yourself, that would be gross).
“I swear by the Nose Frida. I give it to all my new parent friends as a gift as there’s simply nothing like it,” says mom and merchandiser, Lizzy.
4. Saline spray: Once the baby's nose is clear of mucus, a saline spray helps to keep it clean, helping with breathing especially while your baby is sleeping. The pressurised kind (like Sterimar) is often more expensive, but generally more effective with wriggly babies who aren’t able to sniff it back.
5. Suppositories + Vaseline: Sometimes your baby will need medication but either cannot (or will not) take it orally. For those times, anal suppositories are a good option. “My boys were sick so often as babies. I really had to get comfortable giving them these suppositories when they were sick, or we just never slept!” says mom and graphic designer, Nikki.
Vaseline makes it easier to get it in. You get painkillers and laxatives as suppositories, but only administer them under advice from your doctor or healthcare professional.
6. Wound treatments, antiseptic cream, and Dettol: You won’t need these immediately (unless your baby’s a scratcher), but pretty soon your tiny newborn will be crawling around and then walking. And once they are mobile, they start to hurt themselves. It’s handy to keep these stocked.
7. Burn treatments: It’s something you may not expect to need, but when the worst happens you’ll be so glad you have it. Burnshield comes in a variety of treatments from a spray bottle of burn gel to dressings, vests, blankets and all-in-one kits. For small burns, a hydrogel spray is a great thing to keep on hand for those accidents you never saw coming.
“My brother pulled a full kettle of boiling water down on himself once. He was fine after a quick dunk in cold water, there was no lasting damage, but I bet my mom would have loved some Burnshield!” says Kate, mom and teacher.
The Expanded Baby First Aid Kit
While your baby is tiny, you may also find you need gas or colic drops, medicated cream for nappy rash, cradle cap cream, or medicated treatment for eczema or baby acne. There are many things that you may have to add to your first aid kit, but the list above is a good place to start.
As your child grows, you’ll find you need more and different things in your kit. Bandages, teething solutions, tweezers for splinters, antiseptic sprays, aftersun, and more will bulk out your kit, depending on your lifestyle and your child.
Where To Keep Your Baby First Aid Kit
All medicine should be kept in a locked box that’s easily accessible for adults and out of reach of children. Ironically, because that’s where the medicine cabinet is located, the bathroom is actually a bad place to keep medicine because of its high humidity.
A bedroom or lounge cupboard, or even the kitchen, is usually a better spot. Just make sure kids can’t get into it while nosing about. The last thing you want is for your newly-crawling baby to glug back a whole bottle of Paracetamol!
Mobile First Aid Kit
Of course, accidents don’t only happen at home! Sometimes, you’ll be out and about and you need to have something on hand to help. A small, mobile first aid kit can really be a handy addition to the nappy bag or your handbag. In it, keep some wound treatments of different sizes, antiseptic wipes and creams, and some teething gel or powder.
Keeping Your First Aid Kit Up To Date
Medicines expire, so you should go through your kit every 6 months or so and make sure it’s all still up to date. Throw away and replace any expired medication, as it can be dangerous to take it. Products like plasters and burn treatments can also expire, so make sure you check those as well.
It may not feel like it, but your first aid kit is one of the most important items in your home. Much more important than the bouncy chair or the cute baby shoes (do you know how long babies keep shoes on for?)
Disclaimer: While the Snuza HeroMD is a medically certified device, the other Snuza devices are not. Additionally, the writer of this piece is not a medical professional and all medical advice should be checked by a medical professional.
Baby’s First Aid Kit Buying Guide: https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/preparing-for-baby/baby-first-aid-kit-buying-guide/
What Should Be in a Home First Aid Kit?: https://health.ucsd.edu/news/features/Pages/2017-06-30-what-should-be-in-a-first-aid-kit.aspx
Baby's first aid kit: https://www.parent24.com/Baby/Babycare/babys-first-aid-20180219
Carolyn Roode, Paramedic & First Aid Trainer: Training4Life