What should be in a travel first aid kit for families ? In this article, we share our list of first aid essentials for families with children and items we always carry on our travels
International travel with kids can be scary. We trot the world with our two and I would be lying if I said that I never worry.
While my overarching emotions on the road are thrill and excitement, I always have a voice in the back of my head that tells me ‘be careful!’ and suggests to me worrying scenarios.
What if you get sick on the road? Would you know what to do, where to get help, how to react?
I don’t like to dwell into negative scenarios but anxiety has its purpose and being prepared for unexpected events is important before embarking on any adventure.
I joke now (it wasn’t that funny at the time) that we have been sick on each of the 3 continents we visited and this has taught me something.
While you can never be prepared for everything life may throw at you, there are some simple things you can do to cope with the unexpected, and a well thought out first aid kit is one of them!
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Family first aid kits: shall you buy a ready made one?
The first emergency-kit we aver bought was a pre-made one. It was small enough but served us well and we still use it now that we have kids.
Before we travel, we restock it with essentials and this helps us feeling somewhat prepared and keep costs down: you don’t need a super fancy kit to travel, just one with the right things!
I personally found having a commercial first aid kit to start with was useful as it gave me a starting point to build upon.
Considering that 15 tears later (I am not joking, 15!) the same carry case still comes with us, tells you how happy I was with it.
Best bags for DIY family first aid kit
If you don’t want to buy a full on ready made family first air travel kit, you may however want to make sure the bag you choose to pack your first aid essentials is up to the job.
I recommend you pick one that is:
- Clearly marked so you know exactly what it is (and the kids know to stay away)
- Water resistant
- Easy to open and close (zips or velcro)
- With several compartments
- Soft – I personally prefer soft shell first aid kit cases for travel as they are easier to store in your luggage
What to pack in a travel first aid kit for families and children
Please make sure you talk to your doctor or health practitioner about any specific conditions you may need medications for.
This is just a list of what we carry with us based on our experience and does not intend to replace medical expertise.
Our first aid kit is usually stocked with:
Prescriptions medications you usually take
It happens that sometimes we travel while on a course of prescription medicatin (may it be hayfever remedy or antibiotics).
In this case, we have all our prescription medicines with us, together with the original prescription (get it translated if needed) and the generic name of the medicine, should you restock while abroad.
If you travel with a medical condition, make sure you talk to your medical travel insurance provider before your trip and bring your health insurance cars and copied of claim forms with you.
Special prescriptions for the trip
Should you travel to an area with malaria or any other disease you need prescription medication of prophylaxis for, make sure you add all you need and all the supporting documents so you know you won’t get stranded without them
A vaccination booklet or vaccination passport might be needed when you travel to areas affected by certain conditions and, if traveling with children, may be required before entering certain countries.
Insect repellent, after bite remedy, anti-allergy cream
Depending where you are traveling to, you may need full on DEET grade insect repellent or milder remedies however, some form of protection from insect bites is always in our first aid kit.
When we were traveling alone we were a little more lax about what we took with us but now that we have the kids (insects love their skin!) we always carry child-friendly insect repellent, post bite remedy, anti histamine cream in case of a bad reaction to the bite, antibiotic topical cream for infected bites.
In addition to the anti-histamine cream we also always travel with an oral anti allergy solution for the children and tablets for us adults.
We always buy it at home as, like for other medications, we find ti stressful to have to learn about dosage of something like this in a different language, especially as you may want and need for the medicine to act fast.
Pain Killers and anti-fever remedies
Both for adults and kids, we always prefer to bring it from home so we don’t have to stress over dosages and potential different brand names in a different language.
We love the travel size bottles as they are good to carry on board of the plane and we don’t have to stress they get lost.
Anti diarrhea medications
Travel can upset the stomach and the bowel very heavily and sometimes you simply cannot let it go and wait for it to get better.
Ask your doctor what remedy they suggest to stop diarrhea when it hits and also what to take to prevent it or rebuilt gut flora after it.
Travel sickness but even extreme heath or fever can cause dehydration. This can be severe so we always have with us re-hydration salts in several flavors so the kids can take them too without too much fuss
This can be useful especially in the case of travels to a country with a very different diet or if crossing several time zones, which can upset the normal rhythm of your body.
Anti motion sickness medication
Tablets, bracelets: whatever works for your kids, will go a very long way on those long car journeys!
Water purification tablets
These can be useful anywhere you are not sure about the quality of the water even just to make it cleaner before washing cups and cutlery in it for children use
UVA and UVB sun protection lotion
We bring sun protection for both adults and kids. We always buy it at home as we can be sure it agrees with our skin and we also tend to buy lotion you spread on your skin rather than vaporize as we recently discovered it is gentler on the environment.
If possible, we also get reef safe sun cream, trying to be gentler on the environment and leave as little trace as possible.
Eye and ear drops
We always have with us eye and ear drops for both adults and kids. The ear drops in particular can be a life saver as the pain from ear infections or pressure from the plane, for instance, can be severe and cause damage.
First-aid and wound dressing essentials to pack in your vacation first aid kit
A full section of our first aid kit is dedicated to wounds, may they be small scratches or much bigger issues. For taking care of wounds on the go, we carry:
- Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
- First aid quick reference card
- Basic first-aid items (bandages, gauze, ace bandage, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, cotton-tipped applicators)
- A LOT of plasters
- Blister plasters
- Aloe gel for sunburns
- Burnt ointment
Other things to pack in your family first aid kit for travel
Our travel first aid kit for families also always has:
- Disposable, medical gloves
- Digital thermometer
- Resealable bags (for contaminated items etc)
- Small flashlight
- Safety pins
Having this type of kit with us always helps to keep at bay my anxiety.
As an extra precaution, I also always study availability of health care at our destination and proximity (and quality!) of local hospitals.
I used to laugh at myself thinking I was being excessive but after a late night run to Lisbon hospital, is one of the first things I do when planning a trip!
One day, I’ll share that story too…
Is there anything you always carry with you to feel prepared? Come join us on Facebook and let’s chat about traveling with kids!
I hope you fond this articles on our essentials for a travel first aid kit for families useful. Safe travels!
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