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With a child around, it's important to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet or medicine bag (which can be stored out of reach and is portable) so you can quickly deal with the rashes, fevers, and other common ailments that children are prone to, as well as handle the ins and outs of daily care. Here are our must-haves:
- Digital thermometer
- Children's non-aspirin liquid pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
- Topical calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream (1/2 percent) for insect bites and rashes
- Rubbing alcohol to clean thermometers, tweezers, and scissors
- Petroleum jelly to lubricate rectal thermometer
- Antibacterial ointment for cuts and scrapes
- Tweezers for taking out splinters and ticks
- A pair of sharp scissors
- A pair of safety scissors for clipping little nails
- Child-safe insect repellent
- Nasal aspirator bulb syringe for drawing mucus out of a stuffy nose (not the pointy-ended ear syringe)
- An assortment of adhesive bandage strips in various sizes and shapes.
- Gauze rolls (1/2 to 2 inches wide)
- Gauze pads (2x2 and 4x4 inches)
- Adhesive tape
- Sterilized cotton balls
- Cotton-tipped swabs
- Mild liquid soap (antibacterial and deodorant soaps may be too strong for children's sensitive skin)
- Moisturizing cream
- A medicine dropper, oral syringe, or calibrated cup or spoon for administering medicines
- A package of tongue depressors to check sore throats
- A heating pad
- A hot-water bottle and ice pack
- A small flashlight to check ears, nose, throat, and eyes
- First-Aid manual. The American Red Cross's Standard First Aid & Personal Safety gives detailed advice for handling both minor and major emergencies.
- Rehydration fluid
FYI: If your child is allergic to bee stings, peanuts, or shellfish, or if he has some other type of life-threatening allergy, carry an epinephrine kit with you and keep another one in your first-aid kit.