Simple and Cheap First Aid Kit for Your Car

Published on March 20, 2012 under Humble Mechanic

Hey guys, I wanted to give you a slightly different perspective today. My good friend Kristin is medical professional. I was able to sweet talk her into writing a post for us. We get to hear from her about building a small med kit for your car. PLEASE post any questions you have for Kristin in the comments below. AND thank her for the great information that she has given us!

Hello, my name is Kristin. Charles asked if I would write a blog post for him about a simple first aid kit to put in your car in case you come across an emergency and want to help out before the EMT’s get there.  I have been a CMA, Certified Medical Assistant, for the past six years and I have always carried a first aid kit in my vehicle and unfortunately I have had to use it on several occasions. I will include pictures of my kit so you can see how easy and simple it can be to put together.

First and foremost you should take a first aid and CPR class through a local organization like the Red Cross, they are cheap and could save someone’s life and if you are going to help in an emergency it is good to know what to do.  A charged cell phone is also a vital item to have so that you can call for help and get the professionals to the scene.

The kit does not have to be anything fancy or expensive the professionals will have all the good equipment to help the person, you are just trying to keep them stable until someone can arrive.  I have my kit in a small tool box that I purchased on sale for about ten dollars, there are also a few larger items that won’t fit in the box but are easily stored in your trunk.

  • Gloves are very important and should be worn at all times when touching someone else especially if they are bleeding.
  • Alcohol pads, preferably individually wrapped ones, are good to have to clean up any blood or to get debris out of wounds.
  • A bottle of aspirin is a cheap thing that could literally save someone’s life; again a first aid course so you know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack is helpful.
  • I keep some Band-Aids in my kit just for small cuts, the ones I have are latex free but I don’t know if this is really necessary, I just don’t want to do more harm to someone if they have an allergy.
  • I also keep some cheap dollar store feminine pads in my kit, this may seem strange but they are good for wrapping larger wounds and are absorbent and cheaper than getting a bunch of large gauze.
  • I have some tape, wrap and some old t-shirts in my kit to use for wrapping splints or to attach the absorbent material to the person.
  • A flashlight can be an important part of the kit if you are stopping at night or need to check someone’s eyes.  You should already have a flashlight in your kit that the Humble Mechanic showed you in the post “Building an Affordable Tool Kit for Your Car”.
  • The parts of the kit that will probably not fit in your kit are a couple of towels or blankets and some large wooden sticks that they use to stir five gallon paint buckets with at Lowes or Home Depot.

You may have some of these items already and most of these items can be bought at a Dollar Store for very cheap or obtained for free.  The most expensive part of my kit is a CPR mask, this is not necessary really unless you are planning to do mouth to mouth , I have never had to do mouth to mouth on anyone and they now have a hands only version of CPR that would work well until an ambulance can arrive.

I hope this is has been helpful so you can put together a cheap kit that could make you feel more comfortable stopping at a scene and helping.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments section and I will try and answer them. ~Kristin Donadeo, CMA

Thanks Kristin~ This is not the last you guys will hear about this topic. 😉 I will be building 2(one for each car) and show you guys how easy and affordable this car be!

Here is the complete kit!

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      1. Kristin

        Well the diabetic thing would take some pretty significant training and equipment to know exactly what they needed, but they maybe able to tell you if their sugar is low or high. If it was low you could carry a sucker or a packet or two of sugar to help them until the EMTs arrived and if it was too high they maybe able to talk you through giving them an insulin injection that they had with them, but you can not just carry this around with you. Bee sting is pretty simple just remove the stinger have the person put ice on it, unless they are highly allergic in which case they should be carrying their own EpiPen. You can follow the instructions on the pen and deliver the Epi directly into their thigh and wait for the EMTs to arrive.

  1. Kristin

    Charles asked me to make a short comment on sometime when I have had to use my first aid kit and I think the most dramatic case is as follows: I was driving home one evening late, about 2 am and driving past a restaurant in Raleigh that serves very late into the evening. There were people walking on the sidewalk home because they were drunk and thought driving would be a bad idea. Someone else leaving the restaurant was not so considerate and decided to get behind the wheel even though they had too much to drink. They pulled out of the restaurant onto the road and over corrected and pulled up onto the sidewalk and hit the young man that was walking next to his wife, the young man flipped into the air over the car and landed on his back on the sidewalk. The car of course took off and I pulled into the safest closest spot to try and help while my husband got on the phone and called 911. I ran over to the side of the man and knelt down and had my husband grab my first aid kit. I put on gloves and thankfully even though I was really tired and scared my first aid training kicked in. I did not have to use a lot of the items in my kit thankfully, but I did use my flashlight to check the man’s eyes for dilation and my gloves of course. Thankfully he had a heartbeat and was breathing and had no visible blood. I basically just sat next to him and monitored his heart rate and breathing until the EMTs arrived and took over for me. I think that since he was drunk and very loose when he got hit it probably saved his life. However if his heart had stopped I was prepared with my first aid kit and my CPR class to give him CPR until help arrived, and if it had been a cold night I could have used my blankets to keep him warm. While we were waiting for the EMTs to arrive another person on a bike was riding past us and got hit by a car, luckily he was not hurt just a small cut and his bike was messed up, which was really good because I think I was the only person there with any medical knowledge and who was sober. So just one example of how having a first aid kit and a little training can be very important when you least expect it might be.

  2. Matt

    I made a first aid kit for my car. Of course I am not a pro and I missed some stuff like gloves. What I did was take two separate cheap first aid kits and merge the pieces of the two cheap kits to make one good kit. I never used it though except for band-aids.

    One thing I have that you didn’t list is a snake bite poison extractor (not sure if that is what it is actually called). It is some kind of suction thing or something (sorry, it’s been a while since I did this) which you are supposed to put on a fresh snake bite to suck out the venom. I included that because I used to do a lot of hiking in the woods… I don’t know how well it actually works though.

    1. Kristin

      Yeah I really only use my kit on the road and not while hiking, so not really much chance of someone getting bitten by a venomous snake in there car I hope 🙂
      But I do know someone who travels to do education with very many venomous snakes in his van so maybe I should have had one when I lived in NC.

  3. Jennifer

    Thank you for taking the time put this great information out there. I have a kit in my car and I honeslty have not opened it since I first put it together 7 years ago. Do the individually-packaged alcohol wipes expire? I opened one package this morning after reading this post just to check if the wipe was still moist. It was moist and it smelled just as strong as a new bottle of rubbing alcohol. Since it has been in there for 7 years and there is no expiration date on it, should I replace it?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Kristin

      Prepacked alcohol pads do not expire really, as long as they are still moist then they should be good to go. 🙂 I would not really worry about replacing them unless they just look like they might be dry.

    2. Charles

      @Jennifer, Thank you for asking. I am glad Kristen was able to answer you question. I totally agree with her. It does bring up another idea. I wonder if the adhesive on band aids gets weird.

      I would think the hot/cold cycles would ruin the band aids. That being said, don’t buy the really cheap one from Walmart. They are AWFUL!

      1. Jennifer

        @ Kristin, thank you so much! I will pass that info on to the other preppers in my circle.
        @ Charles, very good question, I’ll open one at lunch just to check. I’m guessing the results will be different for many people depending on what climate they live in.
        Thanks to you both!

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