Thursday, November 1, 2012

Create a first-aid kit for day hiking with kids

After water, a first-aid kit is the most essential item you can carry on a day hike with kids.

A first-aid kit for day hikes with kids should include:
g Adhesive bandages of various types and sizes, especially butterfly bandages (for younger kids, make sure they’re colorful kid bandages)
g Aloe vera
g Anesthetic (such as Benzocaine)
g Antacid (tablets)
g Antibacterial (aka antibiotic) ointment (such as Neosporin or Bacatracin)
g Anti-diarrheal tablets (for adults only, as giving this to a child is controversial)
g Anti-itch cream or calamine lotion
g Antiseptics (such as hydrogen peroxide, iodine or Betadine, Mercuroclear, rubbing alcohol)
g Baking soda
g Breakable (or instant) ice packs
g Cotton swabs
g Disposable syringe (w/o needle)
g Epipen (if children or adults have allergies)
g Fingernail clippers (your multi-purpose tool might have this, and if so you can dispense with it)
g Gauze bandage
g Gauze compress pads (2x2 individually wrapped pad)
g Hand sanitizer (use this in place of soap)
g Liquid antihistamine (not Benadryl tablets, however, as children should take liquid not pills; be aware that liquid antihistamines may cause drowsiness)
g Medical tape
g Moisturizer containing an anti-inflammatory
g Mole skin
g Pain reliever (aka aspirin; for children’s pain relief, use liquid acetaminophen such Tylenol or liquid ibuprofen; never give aspirin to a child under 12)
g Poison ivy cream (for treatment)
g Poison ivy soap
g Powdered sports drinks mix or electrolyte additives
g Sling
g Snakebite kit
g Thermometer
g Tweezers (your multi-purpose tool may have this)
g Water purification tablets

If infants are with you, be sure to also carry teething ointment (such as Orajel) and diaper rash treatment.

Many of the items should be taken out of their store packaging to make placement in your fanny pack or back-pack easier. In addition, small amounts of some items – such as baking soda and cotton swabs – can be placed inside re-sealable plastic bags, since you won’t need the whole amount purchased.

Make sure the first-aid items are in a waterproof container. A re-sealable plastic zipper bag is perfectly fine. If you hike in a humid climate like the Midwest or Southeast, be sure to replace the adhesive bandages every couple of months, as they can deteriorate in the moistness. Also, check your first-aid kit every few trips and after any hike in which you’ve just used it, so that you can restock used components and to make sure medicines haven’t expired.

If you have older elementary-age kids and teenagers who’ve been trained in first aid, giving them a kit to carry as well as yourself is a good idea. Should they find themselves lost or if you cannot get to them for a few moments, the kids might need to provide very basic first aid to one another.

Learn about more than a hundred other hiking diversions for kids in Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities.