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The first thing a first-aid kit really needs is large pieces of cloth to help apply pressure and stop bleeding. That doesn’t mean a little roll of gauze; it means a bath towel or equivalent. Use a dark color to lessen the shock value of the blood.

One thing you’ll find when you add a large cloth to the first-aid kit is it doesn’t fit in that little pouch anymore. Get a good plastic container, tool or tackle box large enough for the small kit, towels and some of the other essentials to a real first-aid kit. Clear plastic can be good so things are easier to see and find. Just make sure it will fit everything. It’s also nice if it’s easy to tote around. That way you can take it on a trip in the car, camping or wherever.

Some of the other essentials, in addition to the band aids and non-stick pads of a typical kit are as follows: a card with emergency numbers such as poison center, doctor, hospital and insurance information, scissors, tweezers, a sharp knife, cold packs, an empty plastic bag that seals shut (to make an ice pack), safety pins, and duct tape (to secure bandages and dressings), aloe gel for burns, elastic bandages, hydrocortisone cream, sting relief swabs, a diaper (for absorbency), sunscreen, Ipecac syrup,activated charcoal for poisoning, a stocking cap for head injuries, moleskin or molefoam for blister and burn protection,self-adhering roller bandages, also known as Co flex, Vet wrap or Co ban.

Another important thing to remember with first-aid kits is that they need to be checked and updated. Nobody wants to put old, crusty cream on a burn. Make sure it’s stocked well and you’ll be ready.