Whether you are heading to the big game or tailgating for the weekend, a first aid kit is an essential part of ensuring everyone has a good time no matter what happens. You probably have all of the equipment necessary to build your own first aid kit at home, so why not have those crucial items when they might matter the most?
There’s never a lack of emergency personnel at a tailgating event, but crowds and traffic can slow down their response time in the event of an injury. While you might not be able to handle serious complications, a tailgate first aid kit ensures that you can handle everything from a minor cut to a nasty fall off the back of a truck. Here’s everything you’ll need.
Filling Up Your Kit
There are a number of retailers that sell pre-packaged first aid kits with everything you’ll need already included. These should meet all first aid kit requirements. Some even sell fully stocked trauma kits! However, it never hurts to carry the following items with you when getting your drink on before the first kickoff.
The things in a first aid box that are considered essential include:
- An instruction booklet on how to use each item
- Band-Aids of all shapes and sizes
- Moleskin to treat blisters
- Gauze strips
- A small pair of scissors to cut the gauze
- Safety pins to hold the gauze in place
- A pair of tweezers, for splinters or otherwise
- Sterile gloves
- Antiseptic/antibacterial towelettes
- Alcohol prep pads, like the ones used to remove makeup
- Burn cream
- Neosporin or another antibiotic ointment
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Pepto Bismol, Antacids, Aspirin, and Tylenol
- A Thermometer
- An ice pack or cold compress
- And sterile eye wash
- Duct tape
That last one might sound funny, but duct tape is excellent for securing leg sprints or large towels needed to stop bleeding. You can find all of these items at your local pharmacy or even Wal-Mart.
Sometimes, you want to go the extra mile. If you feel like going above and beyond on safety, then add some of these items to your first aid equipment list.
Prescriptions and Allergy Meds
If you, a friend, or a family member relies on prescription medications, then it’s necessary to carry these with you. At the same time, you or someone you know might have an allergy. Keep over the counter allergy relief on hand for anything minor, and never forget the Epi-pen if someone would have a serious allergic reaction to foods or a bee sting.
While Tylenol or Ibuprofen might work for those who suffer from mild headaches, individuals with migraines require something a little stronger. Keep a small pack of Excedrin Migraine on hand to keep someone’s excitement over game night from turning into a bad time.
Some tailgating events might be child appropriate, in which case you’ll need appropriate child medicine for them. Children’s Tylenol is an excellent solution to most problems but double-check with your group to see if there are any specific needs you can pack for.
The best actions are proactive and planning ahead can make the difference between an amazing night out and an unpleasant evening. Keep items like sunscreen and Chapstick on hand, as well as hand sanitizer to wash away bacteria. You may also want to keep cough drops around for sore throats, which are almost always sure to follow an intense game.
Stay Up to Date
Unfortunately, packing your kit and forgetting about it is not an option. First aid requirements include staying up to date on the medicines and supplies within your box since many of them expire. Take a look inside the night before to make sure everything is in good condition.
As you use items in your kit, namely Band-Aids, it’s easy to forget that you’re running low. After double-checking the dates, make sure all of your items are well stocked and ready to go.
Finally, you will inevitably end up updating your kit as time goes on. The more you tailgate, especially with the same people, the more you will recognize specific needs that could have been addressed by adding another item. Don’t hesitate to update your kit once every so many months or as you see fit.
Nearly any tailgate first aid kit is filled to the brim by now if you’ve added all the items above. However, there are extra items you can bring in your vehicle that act as support for your kit. The first is a flashlight because no one likes tripping over the grill when coming back from the game for hunting for their keys in the dark.
Second, keep a few extra blankets lying around. The temperature can drop before you know it, causing you and others to catch a cold. While any old blanket will do, you might want to consider either a space or emergency blanket. These are specially designed to retain heat and fold up small enough to tuck in your glovebox.
An optional third item is a personal water filter. Chances are you’ll never need it, but on the off chance of a natural disaster, they can save lives. However, you might opt to just bring a case of water bottles instead.
It’s easy to get dehydrated while tailgating and water is the only cure. If you and your company enjoy drinking pre-game, you can even pack rehydration salts into your kit. These are excellent for snapping people back to sobriety and even curing hangovers.
A Note on Pets
Some events might be suitable to bring your dog to, and Fido probably loves the excitement as much as you do. While this will probably be a rare occasion, It never hurts to keep a few dog-friendly items in your kit. Also, packing biscuits is a must.
How Much Does All of This Cost?
That all depends on what you choose to include in your tailgate first aid kit. Opting for a pre-packaged kit with a few other essentials might cost around $15-20. The larger the kit, the higher the price tag. If you want to keep things budget friendly, start small and work your way up to full array of aid items.
You shouldn’t need anything outside of your own skillset to use any of the items mentioned above, but it doesn’t hurt to take a class on CPR. The American Red Cross has locations all across the nation where you can learn how to save someone’s life for half the price of a college course.
Not only will you be able to use these skills at a tailgating event if need be, but they also come in handy everywhere. Alternatively, if you already have a medical background, then you may want to consider taking your first aid kit one step further.
Depending on your education, you could include everything from stitching to a defibrillator. Emergency personnel won’t always be able to respond as fast as they’d like to, which means your prior training could make a world of difference for someone who is injured.
When to Call 9-1-1
While some injuries might obviously need immediate medical attention, others aren’t always as easy to identify. For instance, someone might take a nasty fall and hit their head but say they’re just fine. Is it the alcohol talking, are they really okay?
Head injuries, when more than just a bump on the noggin, are always a medical concern. Concussions can occur more easily than you might think and getting emergency personnel to check them out is highly advised.
Cuts that lead to bleeding can almost always be stopped with a little pressure to the area, but it’s important to ask if someone is anemic. Anemia keeps the blood from clotting, which could mean that even a minor cut could cause the person to lose too much blood.
Other instances that require a 9-1-1 call include anywhere a person is unresponsive. Whether they fainted and won’t wake up or were knocked out, it is imperative that they get medical attention from a professional.
Last but not least, if a situation has rapidly gotten out of your ability to control, make the call immediately. That could mean a serious allergic reaction, excessive bleeding, possible broken bones or even a nearby fight that’s heading too close to your children. Don’t hesitate to make the call.
Keep The Party Going
Tailgating is a fun and exciting way to usher in concerts, sporting events, and more. When an injury does occur, don’t let it ruin the mood if it doesn’t have to. Whip out your tailgate first aid kit and be the hero of the party!
Even if it’s just cleaning off a scraped knee and sticking a Band-Aid on top of it, you very well could have just made someone’s night. Most importantly, you can rest easy knowing that your friends and family are safe no matter what the night entails.