Kid Care: Supplies

You can be prepared for common childhood symptoms and problems. Start by making a Kid Care Kit of healthcare supplies. When buying and giving medicine, remember there are alternatives for symptom relief. Most symptoms go away without medicine. Teach your child not to expect a medicine to be the answer.

Kid Care Kit

Keeping basic healthcare items on hand saves you time, money, and worry. When preparing your Kid Care Kit, make sure it contains the first aid supplies listed below, as well as the medicines. It is important to remember that many medicines, even nonprescription ones, have side effects. Learn what the side effects of your medicines are. And always store medicines out of the reach of children.

  • Thermometer. Do not use a glass thermometer that contains mercury. They can be dangerous if the glass breaks and the mercury spills out. Always use a digital thermometer when checking your child’s temperature. The way you use it will depend on your child's age. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about how to use a thermometer on your child. General guidelines are:

    • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that rectal temperatures are more accurate. Since a healthcare provider must immediately evaluate your infant if he or she has a fever, accuracy is very important. Be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, use another method. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which method you used to take your child’s temperature.

    • For children old enough to hold a thermometer in their mouth (usually around age 4 or 5 years), take the temperature in the mouth (oral).

    • You may use an ear (tympanic) thermometer for children ages 6 months and older.

    • A forehead (temporal artery) thermometer may be used in babies and children of all ages and is a better way to screen for fever than an armpit (axillary) temperature.

  • Acetaminophen (for fever, pain, or swelling)

  • Ibuprofen (Don’t use ibuprofen in children younger than 6 months old.)

  • Decongestant (Talk with your healthcare provider before giving. Decongestants are not FDA approved for children under age 4.)

  • Antihistamine (Talk with your healthcare provider before giving.)

  • Adhesive bandages

  • Antiseptic wipes

  • Gauze pads

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers

  • Insect repellent (to protect against insects and ticks)

  • Ice bag or instant cold packs

  • Sunblock

  • Ichthammol ointment or black drawing salve for splinters

  • Hydrocortisone cream

  • Feminine hygiene supplies

  • Epinephrine injector if someone in your family has severe allergies or anaphylaxis

  • Extra home medicines that are taken regularly

  • Clean towel

  • Ace bandage

  • Plastic bag that seals at the top

  • Sports drink

  • CPR breathing barrier

  • Space blanket

  • Flashlight

  • First aid instruction book

Note: Don't give aspirin to children or teens. This includes children with chickenpox or flu. It may increase the risk for Reye syndrome, a disease that damages the brain and liver and may cause death.