All schools have ready emergency kits and part of is a teacher’s basic emergency preparedness. If someone gets a small cut or has itching due to an insect bite, do you have a medical supply for that? Knowing what you need to have in your classroom first aid kit will equip you and your students with the most basic first aid necessities.
What is a First Aid Kit?
A first aid kit is a small collection of medical supplies that you can keep within easy reach.
First aid knowledge is priceless. It helps lessen or prevent accidents in the classroom as it allows you to assist students during an emergency. You can either buy a ready-to-use first aid kit or create your own. Simply gather up the basic essentials, find a small pouch, container, or backpack and store the supplies together. It makes you feel confident knowing you are equipped.
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What you Need to Have in Your Classroom First Aid Kit
1) Bandage Strips
If there’s 1 thing you should have a ton of – it should be bandaids. If possible make it in different shapes and sizes. Fabric plasters are designed with the right ventilation and water-resistant features to allow the wound to breathe and help the natural healing process.
Kids get paper cuts, scrape their knees, and scratch their skin. A bandage strip can cover these minor abrasions. When wounds are kept moist and covered, blood vessels are able to regenerate faster than when the wound is open to the air.
While it’s okay to leave a wound uncovered to help it stay dry, a classroom setting may not be advisable as the wound may be exposed to an area that can get it dirty, can be rubbed by the hand, clothing, or classmates.
If you’re applying antibiotic ointment, be sure to put the bandage strips on dry skin while trying to avoid getting any ointment on the sticky part.
2) Sterile Gauze Pads & Bandages
Some small wounds may shed a minimal amount of bleeding. Sterile gauze pads have absorption capacity and provide just enough room to cover the wound while allowing it to breathe. A pad also protects the injured part from exposure – which can prompt wound infection.
You can use gauze pads in many different applications; cleanings, dressings, prepping, packing, as a bandage, and for debriding wounds. They make a temporary absorbent dressing over wounds so you are sure the child is treated right after an incident. For the gauze to hold in place, apply tape around the edges.
Elastic bandages are normally used to treat muscle sprains and strains. Wrapping the affected or injured area with a bandage applies a stable pressure which helps reduce the flow of blood to that specific area and restricts swelling. Elastic bandages are also used to treat bone fractures.
3) Medical Tape
Simply covering a wound with a bandage may not be enough. A medical tape (also called surgical tape) is a pressure-sensitive adhesive tape used to hold gauzes and bandages around the injured area.
Other than its ability to stick to anything, it also helps apply the necessary pressure when a covering needs to suppress excess fluid from the wound.
Typically a one-size-fits-all and about 10-yard roll is enough for emergency needs. For best results, avoid stretching the tape. Medical adhesives are designed to be applied without any tension. As long as you stick it to a clean and dry surface, you will optimize its usage.
4) Itch Cream or Antibiotic Ointment
Insect bites may affect people differently but one thing common is that they can be itchy. When kids scratch a mosquito bite, this causes their skin to become more inflamed. To soothe the area, applying itch cream to the affected part may relieve itching.
Antibiotic ointment is typically anti-inflammatory and very useful for soothing rashes. It helps relieve itching and redness and is also safe for children when used in moderation. Dabbing a little antibiotic ointment on cuts and wound also can protect the injured skin before covering it with a sterile bandage.
Kids may even like it if your cream contains menthol or peppermint. Aloe vera gel has anti-inflammatory properties and the cooling feel of the gel may be soothing. Wash the area first with soap and water before applying a physician-approved ointment to relieve pain and swelling.
5) Digital Thermometer
Temperature is one of the body’s vital signs that it is not feeling well. Having a temperature sensor will correctly determine if a child has a fever and requires immediate medical attention.
Going digital provides readings on decimal points quickly, accurately, and specifically. It is faster than the traditional mercury thermometer. Get one that includes a fever alarm, auto shut-off function, and LCD display.
The way thermometers play an important role in the diagnosis of patients has born different types of thermometers that focus on different parts of the body, with some more effective than others. Choose wisely.
6) Alcohol or anti-septic pads
Cleaning hands is a no.1 rule in treating wounds. Antiseptic wipes and rubbing alcohol helps disinfect both your hands and the affected area. Also very useful in disinfecting tweezers that you’re going to use to remove splinters or a needle in poking blisters.
This is also vital for proper care to decrease germs in minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. Disinfecting also helps the healing process faster.
Please don’t use alcohol directly on cuts. Even though these may just be minor injuries, the little pain from alcohol can scare kids rather than help them understand the healthy side of disinfecting.
You can use the alcohol to clean first aid kit utensils like tweezers or a needle used to remove splinters or even scissors. Antibacterial antiseptic toiletries are also as helpful as antiseptic wipes or pads.
7) Scissors, Tweezers & Safety Pins
If scissors are used for cutting bandages or plasters, tweezers will help you remove small foreign bodies from injured skin. The safety pins will help you fix and secure bandages, too.
While most bandages today do not need scissors to cut them, you may need scissors for cutting them to an appropriate length. It never hurts to have ready tools in your first aid kit in case there is a need.
First aid tweezers are designed with precision sharpness for removing splinters, thorns, debris, or other things that may embed in fingers, hands, feet, and legs. Look for stainless steel tweezers that are perfectly aligned for smooth maneuvering around almost invisible splinters. Also, only use scissors that are not dull, broken, or rusted.
8) Cotton Balls
Cotton balls are extremely useful. They can be used for cleaning and sanitizing wound areas or for applying cleansers and ointments before dressings or bandages are applied. This ensures that the wound you’re treating stays clean and free of bacteria.
Medically, cotton balls are used to prevent or stop bleeding from minor punctures. They can be applied to the injured part and secured with tape to remain in place. Cotton balls are an essential element of any wound dressing kit.
9) Ice Packs
It’s normal for students to accidentally bump each other, or fall and acquire minor injuries that may tend to swell. Ice packs are often used to treat minor bumps to a child’s head and in some cases ankle sprain.
Ice packs have become an essential tool for school emergency cases that help reduce bruising, swelling, pain, bleeding, muscle spasm, and tissue damage. Ice packs are useful in sports-related injuries.
10) Facial Tissues
Like many teachers, you too must be in need of tissues, particularly facial tissue. Every start of the year kids can get colds due to the cold weather. They may have their own provisions of facial towels but you know when kids use tissues – they ran out in no time.
For a teacher who knows what cold can get, you know that you would need a good supply of facial tissues as they are softer to the skin compared to toilet paper. The need may lessen when the flu season passes through.
The Importance You Should Not Ignore
One of the many aspects of keeping your class healthy and safe is by ensuring you have what they need in times of emergency. The supplies above are among the most common items that do not require a prescription.
To maintain a positive classroom environment, not only implementing classroom routines can prevent problems from occurring, establishing a clear standard of safety likewise instills a sense of security among students.
You might have other ideas or recommendations for the safety of all students in the classroom, it would be great to hear them in the comments.