First aid kits – How to set up and maintain

first aid kits
First aid kits at

What’s in a first aid kit?

A first aid kit is never something that you never want to need…. but guaranteed if you do – then you a) want it to have the right things in it and b) have all the equipment sterile and not out of date!

Firstly, let’s start simply with what I think are the most essential items to have in a first aid kit specifically for use on the sports field. Keep in mind this is different to the tape or strapping bag that you might also have to contain all those game-day use items.

Essential items

  • Scissors
  • Gloves (Latex-free if you can)
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Alcohol free cleansing wipes
  • Resuscitation face shield
  • Non-woven Triangular Bandage
  • Non-woven swabs
  • Waterproof plasters (in a variety of different sizes)
  • Skin closures
  • Sticky tape
  • Double-sided non/low-adherent dressings 10cm x 10cm
  • Medium sterile dressings 12cm x 12cm
  • No. 16 Eyepad dressing
  • Self-seal disposable bags
  • Instant Ice Packs
  • Paracetamol

It is important that the first aid kit is reviewed at the beginning and end of each season, and if it is used frequently I would review it monthly. When you have players or other staff rifling through your kit bag to get supplies it can easily get disorganised! Make sure you check stock levels, refill what you need and then re-organise the kit to have the emergency items easily accessible.

Checking items

When you are reviewing your first aid kit check a few key items carefully.

1.  All sterile items such as plasters, bandages and dressings will have a use-by date. After this date the sterility of the dressing can’t be guaranteed which is a big problem if you ever have a cut or graze on the pitch which needs dressing. Make sure you not only check expiry dates, but also check for damage to the packaging. This could mean items are no longer sterile and should be discarded.

2. Instant ice packs can be pretty fragile. If you shake the bag slightly you should be able to feel the crystals will be separated (not hard and clumped together) which means the ice pack will still be effective. If they are not stored properly then the bubble of liquid within them can burst and activate the ice bag (remember instant ice bags only work once) and this will mean you need to throw it away and replace it.

3. Not many people realise rigid strapping tape can expire. If it is not stored correctly, particularly when it’s hot the tape can lose it’s stickiness or the tape can basically stick together as one big roll. Check the tape by tearing off a small strip and applying it to your forearm to make sure it is still sticky.

If you’re looking for a good option to buy a new kit, or replenish your existing one, head along to the St Johns website to check out their kits and refills. And if you want to boost your knowledge and understanding of sport strapping techniques for injury prevention and management, check out our landing page for more information about packages and free trials!

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