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Kid Care: Supplies

You can be prepared for common childhood symptoms and problems. Start by making a Kid Care Kit of healthcare supplies. When buying and giving medicine, remember there are alternatives for symptom relief. Most symptoms go away without medicine. Teach your child not to expect a medicine to be the answer.

Kid Care Kit

Keeping basic healthcare items on hand saves you time, money, and worry. When putting together your Kid Care Kit, make sure it contains the first-aid supplies listed below, as well as the medicines. It's important to remember that many medicines, even nonprescription ones, have side effects. Learn what the side effects of your medicines are. And always store medicines out of the reach of children.

  • Thermometer. Don't use a glass thermometer that contains mercury. They can be dangerous if the glass breaks and the mercury spills out. Always use a digital thermometer when checking your child’s temperature. The way you use it will depend on your child's age. See "Fever and children" below.

  • Acetaminophen (for fever, pain, or swelling)

  • Ibuprofen (don’t use ibuprofen in children younger than 6 months old)

  • Decongestant (Talk with your child's healthcare provider before giving. Decongestants are not FDA-approved for children under age 4.)

  • Antihistamine (talk with your child's provider before giving)

  • Adhesive bandages

  • Antiseptic wipes

  • Gauze pads

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers

  • Insect repellent (to protect against insects and ticks)

  • Ice bag or instant cold packs

  • Sunblock

  • Ichthammol ointment or black drawing salve for splinters

  • Hydrocortisone cream

  • Feminine hygiene supplies

  • Epinephrine injector if someone in your family has severe allergies or anaphylaxis

  • Extra home medicines that are taken regularly

  • Clean towel

  • Ace bandage

  • Plastic bag that seals at the top

  • Sports drink

  • CPR breathing barrier

  • Space blanket

  • Flashlight

  • First-aid instruction book

Aspirin warning

Don’t give aspirin (or medicine that contains aspirin) to a child younger than age 19 unless directed by your child’s provider. Taking aspirin can put your child at risk for Reye syndrome. This is a rare but very serious disorder. It most often affects the brain and the liver.

Fever and children

Use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Don’t use a mercury thermometer. There are different kinds of digital thermometers. They include ones for the mouth, ear, forehead (temporal), rectum, or armpit. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Use a rectal thermometer with care. It may accidentally poke a hole in the rectum. It may pass on germs from the stool. Follow the product maker’s directions for correct use. If you don’t feel OK using a rectal thermometer, use another type. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which type you used.

Below are guidelines to know if your child has a fever. Your child’s healthcare provider may give you different numbers for your child.

A baby under 3 months old:

  • First, ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead: 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

  • Armpit: 99°F (37.2°C) or higher

A child age 3 months to 36 months (3 years):

  • Rectal, forehead, or ear: 102°F (38.9°C) or higher

  • Armpit: 101°F (38.3°C) or higher

Call the healthcare provider in these cases:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under age 2

  • Fever that lasts for 3 days in a child age 2 or older

Online Medical Reviewer: Heather Trevino
Online Medical Reviewer: Liora C Adler MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Pat F Bass MD MPH
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2016
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.