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Can you recommend a good first aid kit?

For those of you who travel with just a carryon, is there a good type of first aid kit to carry? I know that many of the ones you can purchase from a drug or department store do have small scissors in them. Now I know that the states have loosened up a bit about scissors; however, some of the European countries are still rather strick.

Are there any companies who make air travel friendly first aid kits?

Posted by
2779 posts

They're pretty much all the same around the world. Why don't you buy it right upon your arrival in Europe? That way you get real scissors that can actually cut whatever it needs to cut ;-)

Posted by
9363 posts

I've never seen a first aid kit that has a forbidden type of scissors in it. They all have the rounded-end small ones, which are legal. And there are many small first aid kits that contain no scissors at all. You might try checking with your local American Red Cross office -- they sell kits of all sizes, from family disaster kits down to pocket kits.

Posted by
3580 posts

I put together my own first-aid kit: bandaids, an ampule of antiseptic, aspirin &/or ibuprofen, an ankle brace (can also be used on a wrist), small blunt-nosed scissors designed for cutting babies' nails, a couple of sterile gauze squares. If I ever need more than this, I'll buy something or get help. This all goes into a ziplock bag.

Posted by
1158 posts

Why don't put together your own first aid kit. I am sure you have everything you need in your home right now. When I buy certain things like travel towels or lotions I save the plastic zip bag taht they came in and used them for other things like first aid kit. They are thicker then a ziplock bag, so more durable.

Posted by
59 posts

Thank you for your input and suggestions. I guess I am like an old girl scout wanting to be prepared for anything.

I will probably put together my own small kit. I think that some bandage tape comes with a means of cutting it, or it is now made to simply tear.

I am always amazed at some of the things I normally take for granted (like having scissors) can become a big thing when I have to think of ways to get along without them. Makes for a good mind exercise at best.

Posted by
1158 posts

Nancy ,

I don't believe Andreas was talking about forbitten scissors. Many of the scisors made in the US are bad, they don't cut and they rust quickly.Those made in Germany work well and will last forever without any problems. My mom got small cuticle type of scissors long time ago, more then 30 years ago , and I use them now and they are working very well.

Posted by
9363 posts

Bea, yes I know Andreas was referring to a better quality of scissors, but Sue was concerned about scissors that wouldn't pass security. It wouldn't matter where they were made if security confiscates them.

Posted by
12172 posts

I collect travel size first-aid kits that are freebies at trade symposiums. I have two in my desk-drawer from "First Aid Only". They have antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, non-aspirin tablets, and bandages, no scissors. They are about the size of a 3x5 note card and about 1/2" thick. You can probably find them or similar in the travel size section at stores.

I like them because they have the basics and are small enough to fit in the front pocket of a day pack. I also carry the hotel version of a sewing kit. Both usually come home intact but are good to have. If I need more, there are pharmacies everywhere.

Due to new travel restrictions, I fly to Europe sans pocket knife or scissors (important travel items for me). On arrival I purchase a swiss army knife that has both (and more for less than $20) that also fits in the front pocket of my day pack. Since I can't carry it back, I give it to a deserving person just before returning.

Posted by
808 posts

Sue, you are a very smart traveller to think of something like a First Aid Kit! Good for you! I wish all of my passengers/patients thought that way!
I'm EMS and I would highly recommend a First Aid Kit assembled by either Saint John Ambulance or Red Cross. They are both World leaders in First Aid.
They are not designed to be necessarily "air travel friendly" but can be adapted. I take mine everywhere.

Some of the Drug Store knock-off First Aid Kits aren't really much good for anything beyond a few minor cuts and scrapes.
I must admit, being in Health Care I look at a First Aid Kit from a different perspective.

First Aid Kits are not supposed to contain drugs with a few exceptions. Some people do like to add symptom relief drugs like Epipen and ASA or other Prescription drugs prescribed to you like Nitro or Ventolin etc...

My First Aid Kit takes into consideration the fact that I am EMS...

Posted by
808 posts

so I will only list the items which would be applicable to someone with a Standard level First Aid with CPR Certification...

-Non-latex gloves (2 pairs M/L/XL)
-Various bandages/gauze/roller gauze
-4"x4" pads
-packets of sugar, salt (Diabetics, Sterilization)
-antiseptic wipes
-dental floss
-empty pill bottle
-CPR Mask or shield (more compact but not as good)
-3 popscicle sticks (improvised splint)
-5 zip lock baggies
-1 garbage bag
-1 foil emergency blanket
-Paper and three pencils

You can manage without scissors in a pinch.

These are just a rough guideline incase you want to make your own. Even look at the ones made by the organizations listed above and copy them...But if you do make your own, try to find a Red case with it clearly labeled First Aid. Or at least the universal symbol of a Cross in Red or blue.

The best First Aid you can carry with you anywhere are First Aid Skills! You can improvise in an Emergency but without skills you are at an extreme disadvantage!


Posted by
808 posts

I would strongly encourage all Travellers to consider taking at least a Standard First Aid course with CPR. I think it should be a requirement for graduation from Highschool.
There are often avoidable situations where having this knowledge would have saved lives.

I've met many people "by accident" in the Field...

Safe Travels,


Posted by
769 posts

The local hiking stores have some great compact kits suited to travel light. They make one for adventure travel, basic, hiking, etc. They have mostly the same items. I used these to start then add a few extra whipes/sting/repenlent, extra good bandaids, and blister care (but really good wool socks will help avoid the need for these hopefully!). Mine came with a tiny fold up scissor - but I like to buy a basic swiss-army knife upon arrival if needed as other suggest!

Posted by
32244 posts

Sue, I'm a Paramedic (retired) & First Aid attendant, and always travel with a small First Aid kit. It's quite small and packs easily, and I've had to use it on a couple of occasions. I normally check my large Pack, so haven't had to deal with scissors in carry-on, however I believe the blunt-end models are OK. I carry Advil, antacids and similar med's in my toiletries kit, and that way the FA kit doesn't get overloaded.

I normally start with a basic kit such as this one and then tailor it to my own preferences. I'm sure you could do the same with a kit obtained locally at a Drugstore or whatever.

A small kit won't be suitable for all contingencies. Tailor it to the minor injuries you'll most likely encounter while traveling (cuts, blisters, etc.). At least one Triangular bandage is a good idea, as they're so versatile.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
157 posts

The Red Cross has several very nice first aid kits that come with and without scissors. They even have one that can double as a pillow! I saw it the other night at my local Chapter. Check with your local Red Cross Chapter - they can help you.

Posted by
75 posts

As you may know,you can take scissors in your carry-on, according to the TSA website, as long as they have cutting edges shorter than 4", or have blunt tips. Knives are okay too, as long as they are short blunt "spreading" type or plastic. Check the website.Don't forget to put the gooey stuff in the quart bag.
The scissors/nail clippers that last are stainless steel, and the german companies are famous for good ones.

Posted by
59 posts

I did found a pair of small scissors that may work very well. They are actually mustache and beard trimmers, small, but well made.