Last week I shared with you how my five-year-old son, Will, learned what to do in a bleeding emergency by “playing” with the American Red Cross First Aid app. But as you and I know, and as I’ve now explained to Will, knowing what to do in any kind of first aid emergency is only half the battle. It’s equally important to have the right supplies on hand, and in my most recent and personal experience, the right supplies come out of a well-stocked American Red Cross first aid kit.
After Will cut his fingers open by slamming them in the back door, we applied direct pressure until the bleeding slowed and then placed ice on the injury to alleviate some of the pain and swelling. The problem was that Will had swimming lessons – which he absolutely, positively didn’t want to miss (we live in Texas, where you don’t pass up an opportunity to cool off in the water) – a mere 35 minutes after the injury occurred. My sister and I knew we had to work quickly and take advantage of all my first aid kit had to offer if we were going to have that boy fixed up and out the door to swimming lessons on time.
First we thoroughly but gently washed the cuts with soap and water and patted them dry with a clean towel. If for some reason we hadn’t had access to any of these items, my first aid kit contains plenty of alcohol wipes and a sterile towel.
Second, we applied a light coat of antibiotic ointment to the cuts. My first aid kit didn’t include with antibiotic ointment, so I added a small tube when I first brought the kit home.
Third, we used the scissors in the kit to cut the large bandages into strips that were the right size to both fully cover the wound and wrap around his small fingers. The first aid kit has plenty of Band-aids and bandages of different sizes, but sometimes you have to cut premade sizes for specific cuts and scrapes.
And fourth, once we’d bandaged the fingers, we used the scissors again, this time to cut up an adult hand-sized rubber glove to fashion a small casing for the fingers.
Thanks to the information we’d learned in our Red Cross first aid classes (as well as the information available via the first aid app), and the well-stocked Red Cross first aid kit we had on hand, we were able to fix that boy right up. Will strode into his swimming lesson at exactly 4:30pm, proudly showed his instructor his recent injury and protective covering, and jumped in the water.
So here’s your end-of-summer assignment:
1. If you haven’t already done so, download the American Red Cross First Aid app and review the first aid information available to you. (Available for iOS and Android.)
2. Make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit in your home. If you don’t have a first aid kit, you can find one to suit your needs in the Red Cross store. If you already have a first aid kit, pull it down from the top shelf and add whatever items the kit is missing or is low on so that it’ll be well-stocked the next time you need it.