The following is for educational purposes only and should not be taken for medical advice. Be sure to consult a doctor for your family’s health needs.
Why have a baby first aid kit assembled before baby even arrives, when you can just order stuff or run out to the drugstore for supplies?
Well, as you may have already learned during pregnancy, babies like to be unpredictable—and inevitably, in the middle of the night, when your baby starts sniffling and coughing, you’ll be grateful for a bit of advance preparation. Here are some essentials you’ll want in your home first-aid kit. And the good news? These first aid kit items aren’t just for babies, but for children and adults as well, so the whole family will be prepared.
General First Aid Kit Items to Have on Hand
- Bandages, gauze and tape. Be sure to stock a variety of sizes and types to match all kinds of skin damage.
- Disinfectant. When cleaning out a bloody cut, you’ll need some disinfectant to make sure that the wound doesn’t get infected before you apply a bandage.
- Thermometer. A first-aid kit staple for measuring someone’s temperature, touchless infrared forehead thermometers are increasingly popular and can be especially helpful to grab a quick temp on a wriggly baby.
- Tweezers. A basic pair of tweezers can help with removing splinters from skin or debris from wounds.
- Aloe vera. Stock a gel or a cream to treat and other household injuries and burns.
- Rubbing alcohol. Keep a bottle handy for cleaning off a rectal thermometer or tweezers after use.
Baby First Aid Kit Essentials
Here are the items specific to babies that you’ll want to have on hand for your little one’s arrival prepared for your baby first aid kit:
- Pure saline drops. Primarily used for when baby has a cold or just a stuffy nose due to congestion or allergies, these simple saline drops can really help with clearing baby out. Typically, they come in the form of a spray or in small individual pipettes that you stick directly into baby’s nostrils. (If you opt to use a spray, just make sure that you keep the spray part clean after use.)
- NoseFrida nasal aspirator. Most babies aren’t a big fan, but once they get past the discomfort of the nasal aspirator it’s a game changer for little clogged noses. Put in some saline drops first, then use the NoseFrida snot sucker and your baby will be relieved to breathe freely when they have a cold or get congested.
- Chamomile tea. Chamomile tea serves many purposes in the early months. For instance, if baby gets a bit of diaper area irritation, you can wipe them with cloth and room temperature chamomile tea. For clogged tear ducts that cause “eye gunk”—very common in young babies—you can put warm (not hot) compresses dipped into chamomile tea to gently wipe their eyes. Last but not least, if you’re breastfeeding, it can be a soothing item as well for irritated nipples.
- Diaper cream. Since newborns poop so much in those early days, a barrier diaper rash cream is really helpful to have on hand—it’s basically a preventative measure for diaper rash.
- Infant nail clippers. Trust me, cutting your baby’s fingernails with the adult nail scissors doesn’t end up well. A grippy pair of nail clippers like Frida Baby’s is easy to hold and maneuver with a wiggly baby (pro tip: you can also cut baby’s nails while they sleep!).
- Gas drops/gripe water. Though not every baby needs these, many parents find them helpful during the newborn days when baby gets gassy and uncomfortable. It’s worth having some on hand in case it turns out to be the magic tool to soothe your little one’s digestive issues in the first few weeks.
- Baby medicine dropper or syringe. In case you need to give your baby oral medication, a pacifier medicine dispenser or a syringe or medicine dropper is usually the easiest tool with a young baby to ensure they actually swallow all of it.
- Infant acetaminophen. Also known as Tylenol, this over-the-counter medicine is helpful to have on hand when your baby is in a lot of pain and discomfort due to fever, other illness or teething. Just be sure to always consult your pediatrician and follow recommendations for weight-appropriate dosage closely.
Baby Healthcare + Safety Tips
Along with stocking your house with some basic baby first aid supplies, it can be helpful to brush up on some general health and safety tips when you have an infant around:
- Get CPR certified. Before baby arrives, consider taking an infant first aid and CPR course, or at least review the basics via video and books so that you feel confident in these areas. It’s also a good idea to ensure that anyone who will be spending time alone with your baby—like grandparents or caregivers—get certified too.
- Babyproof the basics. Although your baby won’t be mobile for at least a few months, it is never a bad idea to start thinking about household hazards and some basic babyproofing.
- Go through supplies regularly. Keep an eye on things like medications that have an expiration date and check through them every so often to make sure you don’t have a bunch of expired first aid items in your kit.
- Don’t forget your furry friends. If you have pets, it can be a possible safety issue once baby comes home in terms of having them around your little one. Read up on techniques about getting your pet used to your baby and safety tips about animals and babies living together.
- Practice safe sleep. Make sure that your baby has a safe place to sleep before they come home and you follow all recommended safe sleep practices including: a separate, flat sleeping area with no loose blankets, stuffed animals, or anything additional near the baby.
- Check your car seat. Learn how to properly install your baby’s car seat and make sure you understand how the car seat works for maximum safety. Some stores offer free car seat consultations to help you figure out how best to use yours.
- Replace detector batteries. If your baby’s nursery has a smoke or carbon monoxide detector, check to see that it is in working order.
It’s also a great idea to do a health and safety check-in with anyone who will be caring for your baby to ensure they are also following all the precautions that are important to you, including any health measures such as masking, vaccines, and sanitizing. Your baby is everything, so don’t be afraid to have conversations about staying safe and healthy together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it cheaper to buy or build a baby first aid kit?
It’s typically less expensive to assemble your own kit, but it can’t hurt to do a little comparative research. There are some pre-made kits that have virtually everything you might need, and you can also add additional items you need.
How do you perform CPR on an infant?
It’s best if you can take an official infant CPR class from the Red Cross. They offer online certification and resources like this instructional video.
Where should you keep a baby first aid kit?
Somewhere handy and obvious for adults to access, but also a place that young children will not be able to easily get into it. Be sure to follow all recommended babyproofing steps to keep it locked up and out of sight.
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Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN…