Bridges Resource Library

Building Our Own First Aid Kits

Updated as of May 28, 2024.

Let’s discuss First Aid Kits and how to build our own. Accidents happen, and having a first aid kit at hand provides peace of mind.

First Aid Kits


First aid kits provide a one-stop shop for routine health needs, especially for small accidents. For example, a stumble or fall can cause scraped-up knees or twisted ankles. Kitchen accidents can include small burns or accidental cuts. Times outdoors can lead to splinters and bug bites or stings.

Having a first aid kit on hand enables us to easily and quickly get the items we need to address an injury. This saves us time looking for what we need and lowers our stress levels so we can focus on getting better rather than on searching for needed materials.


As noted above, different activities pose different risks for accidents. We can also tailor our first aid kit (or kits) to our environment/activity/needs.

For example, consider having one first aid kit at home and another for trips (especially those camping trips where nature is all around). Additionally, consider keeping a few first aid items on hand all the time (in a bookbag or purse).

Building Our Own First Aid Kits


The contents of a first aid kit should address the treatment of likely accidents that might occur. Consider items to (1) clean and disinfect cuts and scrapes, (2) stop bleeding, (3) guard against infection, (4) treat symptoms of burns, allergies, etc. (5) remove splinters or ticks, and (6) treat pain. Such items may include:

  • Elastic bandages (band-aids)
  • Wet wipes or alcohol wipes (individually packaged)
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Burn care/aloe vera cream or spray
  • Bug bite/sting ointment
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Tweezers
  • Mini-scissors
  • Gauze pads
  • Medical tape
  • Oral pain reliever (acetaminophen/Tylenol, ibuprofen/Advil, or naproxen/Aleve)
  • Ice packs (instant, disposable)

Choosing the right kit holder

The type of first aid kit case will vary based on the purpose of the first aid kit. For an at-home first aid kit, consider a larger case to hold multiple items to treat a variety of accidents. Factors to consider include:

  • Large enough to hold what I have/want
  • Small enough to keep in a specific place I choose
  • Has a lid – for easy access
  • Has a handle – to carry it where I need it

Consider using an old shoebox (has a good amount of space and has a lid) or finding/purchasing a container specifically as a first aid kit case.

For an on-the-go first aid kit, consider choosing something smaller and something that can be zipped or latched so that the first aid kit contents won’t fall out on a hiking trip. Also, depending on the nature of activities, an on-the-go first aid kit may be smaller than an at-home kit.

A mini-kit in a purse or backpack can be invaluable. It might contain a few elastic bandages, some small tissues or wipes, and some oral pain relief tablets. This small kit can fit in a small zippered pouch or even a small Ziploc bag.

The great thing is: There is no right/wrong answer. Each of us can decide what works best, and we can change our minds (and first aid kits) any time we choose!

Pre-made kits available for purchase

Sometimes, it’s just easier to purchase a pre-packaged first aid kit (or two). Many different pre-made first aid kits are available – different sizes, with different contents, and in different containers. Many different retailers sell first aid kits, including Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, pharmacies, grocery stores – even dollar stores. Explore and find what is available.

Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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