When Baby Gets Sick – Building a Medical Kit for Childhood Illnesses and Mishaps

If you are a new parent you are probably overwhelmed with all that is involved in caring for your new baby. When your baby gets his first cold you will be even more overwhelmed! It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is.

Getting yourself organized and prepared is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a new mom. If you can learn to anticipate what might be coming, you’ll be ready in the middle of the night when your baby wakes up with a stuffed up nose or other ailment. Use this guide to get yourself ready for the inevitable illnesses and accidents of baby, toddler and childhood years.

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Start with an empty toolbox (or any medium sized box) that can be locked. (Remember, it won’t be long until your baby is climbing and crawling everywhere and getting into everything.  Use the following checklist to stock your “medicine box” in preparation for the next cold or other illness.  Don’t panic at the length of the list. You can stock up gradually. Pick up one or two things each time you’re out shopping and you’ll be stocked up in no time without making a major dent in your budget.

  • Inside the lid of the box, tape a card with your child’s information (update frequently) in case something happens or your child takes ill when you are not there. Include: Child’s name, weight, pediatrician and phone number, allergies, your information and cell phone number and any other pertinent information.
  • Acetaminophen and ibuprofen should always be in your box.  Both reduce fevers quickly and effectively. It’s nice to have both in your box in the event your child gets a very high fever. Never use ibuprofen for a baby under six months of age.
  • Keep a thermometer in your medicine box. If you will be using the thermometer rectally, keep a small jar of petroleum jelly as well.
  • Rubbing alcohol and cotton balls should always be in your box. Use them to clean the thermometer, tweezers, scissors and nail clippers.
  • Tweezers are never around when you need them. Keep a pair in your box for splinters once your child is crawling and toddling around the house.
  • Scissors for trimming nails and another pair for cutting gauze or bandages are a great addition to any medicine box. If you prefer nail clippers, add a pair of those to the box as well.
  • Nasal aspirators are a lifesaver when your baby or toddler gets a cold. Manual nasal aspirators are easy to use and more baby-friendly than the traditional bulb aspirators.
  • Saline Nasal spray solution can be used to keep stuffy noses moist and clear.
  • A small flashlight is handy to have in your medicine box. Use it to check in baby’s ears, nose and throat for inflammation.
  • Children’s diphenhydramine, commonly known as Benadryl, is a must have for stings and/or allergic reactions. Call your doctor or pharmacy to make sure you are giving the right dose for your child’s weight. If you suspect an allergic reaction – call for help immediately.
  • Bandages, sterile gauze, tape are essentials for any home with a baby, toddler or young child. Cuts and scrapes are inevitable – be ready.
  • A few clean washcloths are a nice thing to have in your medicine box. Most kids will fall or bump their heads. Heads and faces, even when it’s nothing serious, bleed profusely. The washcloths will help you.
  • Distractions are a necessity. For very young babies, keep a brightly colored rattle or squeaky toy in your box. For older babies and toddlers, a squishy ball or other small toy can be helpful as well. Pull these toys out when you need to remove a splinter, use the nasal aspirator or do something else you don’t want your child to focus on.  Keep the distraction toys only for these times and change them occasionally.
  • Electrolyte fluids are important if your child gets a stomach bug and has a bout of vomiting or diarrhea. Remember to refrigerate after opening and to replace the bottle that was in the box.
  • A vaporizer won’t fit in your box but you should have one. Keep it in an easy to reach location.

These are your medicine box basics. If you have these in your house during your baby’s first year, you’ll be ready for just about any illness or injury. As your child gets older you’ll want to change the contents to suit his new abilities as well as his new size and medicine requirements.