I get asked what makes a good First Aid kit at least once a week. This is a loaded question because some people think that the more, the better. As a Paramedic with 40 years of experience, I’ve become a minimalist, I only carry what I truly need. Over the years, my kit has dwindled down to a bare-bones kit. I am not a fan of pre-stocked kits. 

My answer to what makes a good Car First Aid Kit is simply: buy the equipment you are trained to use and feel comfortable using. Remember, the idea of a Car First Aid is to provide basic emergency care until the Paramedics arrive or you get the patient to the hospital. The Paramedics will remove the dressings to inspect the injury and again at the hospital, the dressings will be removed, the wound assessed, cleaned, and repaired. If it’s a minor cut or scrape then take your time to dress it correctly. 

A First Aid Kit is different from a Trauma Kit. We will talk about that later in another post. 

A good First Aid Bag is essential for your gear, and the model you choose will depend on what you decide to carry. First, choose the contents then select your bag. Use the old saying, “Form follows Function.” The contents decide what bag you purchase, don’t purchase a bag and then fill it. 

This kit is for a Basic First Aid trained individual, not a trained EMT or Paramedic. 

Here are a few tips:

  • Get a Trauma Bag sized for your car, too big and you will remove it, too small and it will get lost

  • Don’t carry too much. Products have an expiry date

  • Only buy the products you are trained to use

  • Don’t worry too much about sterility in the field if the wound is serious, it will be professionally cleaned at the hospital. A minor wound can be cleaned with a bottle of drinking water before applying a dressing. 

So, what should you carry in the Car Trauma Kit? For a basic kit, this is what I recommend:

  • 6 x 4 x 4 Sterile Gauze

  • 2 x Large pressure dressings

  • 2 x Abdominal pads

  • 4 x 6” gauze rolls

  • 2 x Triangular bandages

  • 1 x Splint

  • 1 x Bottle of Burn Gel

  • 1 x Foil Emergency Blanket

  • 2 x Roll of 1” Medical Tape

  • 12 x Alcohol Preps

  • 12 x Bug Bite Wipes

  • 1 x Paramedic Shears

  • 1 x Bottle of Hand Sanitizer

  • Assortment of band-aids in a zip lock bag

  • Disposable Nitrile Gloves in YOUR size

  • Disposable Level 3 or better Face Mask

  • Pocket Mask (buy a good one and only use it if you feel safe doing artificial respirations on a stranger)