Thursday, October 20, 2011

Healing BooBoos - Creating Your Toddler First Aid Kit

I think every parent will remember the moment that their baby is no longer in pristine condition and earns its first scar. Hannah had a few bumps and bruises, but the first real battle scar came from a head dive into the corner of a wall when she lost control through the turn and skidded head first into the wall.

My mom called to tell me what happened, Chris emailed me at work to let me know what to expect, but when I walked up the front stairs at the end of my day and saw Hannah with an inch long gash, and a knot the size of an egg on her forehead, I admit that I completely lost it.

Vain, yes. Over-reacting, yes. Valid, to me – yes.

I quickly realized that my first aid kit, while stocked with gripe water and unopened teething remedies, was woofully unprepared for toddler booboos, and thus I went shopping.

The TOP 10 things to include
in your Toddler First Aid kit:
1. A functional yet cool container.
You don’t want to be searching during an emergency so you need to be able to quickly locate your kit and everything in it, preferably with one hand. My first thought was a caboodles, but I quickly realized that a modern makeup train case, would be a great First aid kit – lots of drawers and organization, yet everything is accessable inside a sturdy container.

2. Band-aids.
This will probably be the most used item in your kit. I like to keep a variety of sizes and shapes. Keep your child in mind when buying:
  • Are they too young to appreciate character band aids (that usually don’t stick as long)?
  • Or is a superhero bandaid the only way they’ll leave it alone?
Hannah doesn’t like anything ‘stuck’ on her yet and could easily scrape off a forming scap while trying to pick it off, so we need to purchase band aids that seal all the way around the gauze and adhere well.

Since the boo boo described above was rather large, yet on her small forehead, we had a hard time finding a band-aid that was on scale with a toddler body.

The best fit was Nexcare brights. The 3M bandages are latex free and come in cute colors. They completely seal around the wound so they’re harder for Hannah to remove herself and the small size was perfect for her forehead. The only negative about this product is that in a box of 25, there were only 5 of the smaller size and 20 of the larger size.

3. Cold Compress.
Coolkidz Reusable Cold Pack contains a gel that remains soft and flexible when frozen. It is also reusable, hypo-allergenic, PVC-free, BPA-free and comes in multiple shapes and colors:


4. Gauze Pads and 1” Paper Tape.
Use the gauze to apply pressure and help stop bleeding. If it’s an odd shaped wound and you don’t have a bandage that will completely cover it, use the paper tape to fashion a bandage. These items are also good to use if you’re transporting the child to the doctor’s office and just need to control the wound while you drive.


5. Tweezers.
Hannah gets splinters from our wood deck and bark chips at the playground. Keeping a nice pair of tweezers in your kit is smart – just disinfect before and after each use.

6. Antibiotic Ointment.
The old school thought is the clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Nowadays both of these are known to harm the delicate tissue of a wound, delay healing and possibly increase the likelihood of a scar. Instead flush the wound with cool water and wash with mild soap. Each family has their go to brand of antibiotic ointment. Apply a thin layer to wounds and cover with a bandage. The new thought is to keep wounds moist with ointment and not to let them air out. This way the wound stays cleaner and is less likely to scar.
7. Saline Solution.
I don’t like thinking about eye injuries. Whenever they show surgeries on eyes I go weak in the knees, but with a crazy toddler, anything is possible. It’s best to keep a bottle of saline solution (basic saline contact solution would work well) so that you could quickly flush any debris in the eyes (think sand box wars) or wound (let’s not think about this one).

8. Oral Thermometer.
My thermomter is constantly growing legs and walking away. I can never find it when I need it and always stumble upon it when I’m looking for something completely unrelated. Don’t be like me – keep yours in your first aid kit and check the battery life often. A middle of the night fever is no time to be rummaging in the junk drawer…

9. Hydrocortizone ointment.
1% ointment is good to have for occasional use to treat itching and inflammation, but use sparingly unless otherwise directed by your pediatrician.

10. Tongue depressors.
Not only can they help you look at lesions and in the mouth or throat, but they can also be given to the child so they can ‘help’ you fix the boo boo. Hannah love getting a tongue depressor at doctor visits.  Plus - these are flavored!  Bonus.
Once you’ve gathered the basics, consider adding these items as well:
  • elastic bandage (think ACE bandages, and make sure you have those little closure doohickeys)
  • a splint or at the very least a bandana to create a sling.
  • antiseptic wipes
  • soap
  • acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • sharp scissors – these could come in handy if you need to quickly removing clothing.
  • safety pins
  • calamine lotion -
  • alcohol wipes or ethyl alcohol
  • your list of emergency phone numbers –
    • Pediatrician
    • Dentist
    • Directions for after hours calls
    • Closest hospital
    • Children’s allergies include close familial allergies if you haven’t ruled them out with your child
    • Parent's cell phone numbers in case the babysitter is the one using the kit.
Keep in Mind:
  • The old school thought is the clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Nowadays both of these are known to harm the delicate tissue of a wound, delay healing and possibly increase the likelihood of a scar. Instead flush the wound with cool water and wash with mild soap.
Poison Control’s phone number:

Amazon Links:


  1. Such a great Blog!!! I will be utilizing your ideas to create a First aid Kit for my little ones!! = ) Thank you Carla

  2. Awesome info, I guess I was still old style (well is it because at the venerable age of 36 I am already old) thinking peroxide was actually a pretty cool thing (heck, it foams ! how cool).

    Good to update the knowledge. You also raised some points I wouldn't have thought so (band-aids sticking on all side etc.)

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