Your childcare area is responsible for the safety of the children in your care; whether in daycare while parents are at work, at a gym where parents are in the facility, or during time kids are at camp.  Creating and ensuring a safe environment is a priority. Make sure staff is trained, prepared, and ready to handle all situations from a bump or bruise to something larger. Being prepared is essential as unfortunately, accidents do happen.

Readily Available
One easy way to be prepared is having a well-stocked, handy, first aid kit. A first aid kit should always be readily available, right there in the children’s area. If you have multiple classrooms or kids club areas, make sure either the first aid kit can be easily retrieved from a close by central location, or each area has its own first aid kit.

If you are going to leave the kids’ area and bring the children to another part of the facility, have a staff member bring a portable first aid kit along, just in case. Going to play in an open racquetball court? Visiting the climbing area of the gym? Simply going on a group walk for a change of scenery? Chances are everything and everyone will be just fine, but in case not, it helps a lot to be prepared and have a first aid kit available.

Storing and Restocking
The first aid kit and other emergency supplies should be kept in a closed container, in a location easily accessible to staff, but out of reach of children. Make sure the container is labeled so it’s immediately obvious the first aid kit and other supplies are inside. It’s important to clearly mark the location and make staff aware because the worst time to have to search for what you need is during an emergency. First Aid signs are available for purchase, or print your own, so everyone can see at-a-glance exactly where to find the kit.

Ensure you always have what you need in your first aid kit. Ideally, items should be restocked after every use however that’s not always viable. Conduct either a weekly or monthly inventory, depending on how quickly you go through supplies, to keep on top of things. During your inventory it’s a great opportunity to verify the dates of supplies to confirm nothing has expired. Keeping a log of who completed the inventory check and restocked supplies is also helpful.

Items to Include in the First Aid Kit
What should be included in your first aid kit? There are many choices to consider and a plethora of pre-made kits to purchase. You don’t have to pull together a kit from scratch. For example, there are several kits on Amazon to consider, just make sure it’s for use with children.

Here are some recommended items:
• Writing utensil & notepad (to make notes for incident report)
• Disposable latex-free gloves
• Scissors
• Tweezers
• Thermometer (A great one is the Braun Thermoscan which has quick readings and lens filter detector, so you don’t have to sterilize after each use)
• Bandage tape
• Sterile gauze pads
• Flexible roller gauze
• Triangular badges
• Safety pins
• Eye patch
• Cold packs
• Distilled or sterile water (for washing out eyes or cleaning wounds)
• Alcohol free cleansing wipes
• Liquid soap and/or hand sanitizer
• Tissues & wipes
• Adhesive strip bandages (various sizes)
• Plastic bags (for disposing of materials that have been used or soiled)

Optional Items to Consider
• A list of emergency contacts, such as Poison Control Center, local hospitals, emergency clinics, etc.
• Flashlight
• Whistle
• Battery powered radio
• Emergency cell phone

Items for Portable First Aid Kit
A portable first aid kit should be taken for any activity outside the children’s area when the main first aid kit will not be readily available. If all the kids are going, simply grab the main first aid kit to bring along, or if not, have a smaller portable one to carry.

If you aren’t venturing too far from the children’s area with the full kit, you can have fewer items in the portable kit. At a minimum it should include:
• Disposable latex-free gloves
• Scissors
• Tweezers
• Bandage tape
• Sterile gauze pads
• Safety pins
• Alcohol free cleansing wipes
• Hand sanitizer
• Adhesive strip bandages
• Plastic bag (for disposing of materials that have been used or soiled)
• If applicable, any emergency medications or supplies needed for a specific child

Also, bring along an attendance list which includes the emergency contact information for each child. This not only helps you keep track of which children are with you, but provides the ability to quickly contact a parent in case of emergency. Electronic children’s check-in systems provide the ability to print a report of checked-in children making an attendance list fast and easy. Or, some, like KidCheck, have admin console apps and features allowing access to an attendance list and child information right on an authorized staff member’s mobile device, as well as the ability to easily text parents right through the system.