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How to Stock a Natural First-Aid Kit

Written by natural parenting contributor Megan of SortaCrunchy.

July is here! And with it comes the opportunity to spend long, glorious hours outside.  Swimming, sailing, hiking, camping, or just playing – this is the time to get outdoors and enjoy!

Most parents learn early on that being prepared is an essential part of effective parenting.  All that time outdoors with our children means we will certainly have ample opportunity to doctor little cuts, scrapes, bruises, and bites that come along with playtime.

Rather than relying on the shelves of the pharmacy to treat the outdoor “ouchies,” look around your house.   You may find that you have everything you need to treat minor injuries for yourself and your children.  Here are a few ideas to help you stock a natural first-aid kit:

Tea Tree Oil

Is there anything tea tree oil can’t do?  It is an extremely effective antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral oil that definitely deserves a place in every first aid kit. It is as potent as it is effective, so make sure to use it in small amounts, and you may consider mixing it with a carrier oil (like olive oil or coconut oil) to dilute it and lessen the sting of application.  Tea tree oil is a great go-to treatment for cuts and scrapes.

Some people do have allergic reactions when treated with tea tree oil.  It is a good idea to test the skin of each member of the family to detect potential reactions before using it as a first aid treatment.

Raw Honey

Photo by botheredbybees

Similar to tea tree oil in its broad range of uses, raw honey is an excellent sources of healing to have on hand.  Honey is a wonderful antibacterial treatment, and dressing a minor cut or scrape with it not only promotes healing but it also aids in bandage removal by protecting tender, injured skin from the stinging sensation of the bandage being removed.

Speaking of stings, did you know honey is a great treatment for bee stings? And a sealed container of honey will never spoil, making it an easy, low-maintenance addition to your first-aid kit.

Arnica Cream

Okay, I admit I’m cheating a little with this one.  Arnica cream is something you may not just have laying around the house, but it’s a great item to pick up and have on hand.

This homeopathic cream is perhaps best known as a topical treatment for sore or stiff muscles, but it is also extremely effective in treating bruises. Applied to skin when bruising appears, its anti-inflammatory properties will reduce swelling and provide pain relief.

Deet-Free Bug Repellent

Photo by naturegirl 78

Nothing spoils an evening sipping lemonade on the porch as quickly as a swarm of mosquitoes!  Most of us know to stay away from bug repellents containing deet, particularly for use on children. We found a bug repellent spray at our local health food store that is deet-free and relies on citronella and other essential oils to keep those pesks away. Katie loves the Bug Bar Bug Block from Graham Gardens.

According to this article at, mixing one part garlic juice with five parts water is an effective way to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Sunscreen – or Not!

In recent years, the use of sunscreen has become a controversial topic in natural parenting circles. Later this month, Simple Organic contributor Katie will be covering this topic for us, but in the meantime, you can read thoughts on the topic from Simple Organic contributor Stephanie in My Thoughts on Sunscreen, Part One and Part Two, as well as her post here at Simple Organic on the benefits of sunshine.

Breast Milk

I know I’ve mentioned this before in my article on natural remedies for babies, but I wanted to say again that breastfeeding mothers have an advantage over the rest of us when it comes to health and healing.  Breast milk is full of antibodies that can bring about all kinds of healing when applied topically.  Use expressed breast milk to treat cuts and scrapes, and apply it to those prickly heat rashes that are inevitable when spending time in the summer sun.

Finally, make sure to include some sterile bandages, cotton swabs, and perhaps some gauze in your first-aid kit.  Place all of the items in a non-recyclable, repurposed container that you already have around the house, and the outdoor “ouchies” will soon be forgotten as you enjoy fun in the sun!

Related articles:
How to Easily Make a Natural Antiseptic Salve
Natural Parenting Toolbox: Common Herbs for Children
Honey – Healing Properties

What natural remedies does your family keep on hand to care for bumps, scrapes, bruises, and bug bites?

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  1. Eren

    Megan, brilliant as always. Thanks so much for this. We have first aid kits in both cars, in the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms…even one in the cabinet on the patio. But they are starting to need replenishing. I’ll be using your list to do so. Thanks for this!

    • Megan

      Wow! You guys are SUPER prepared. Your comment reminds me I need to put something together for my car because of COURSE when you are away from the house is when the kids get hurt!

  2. Mandi @ Organizing Your Way

    Great list, Megan!

    I’d add coconut oil as well. We use it for chapped lips, dry skin and when someone gets a little too much sun.

    • Megan

      Coconut oil is definitely one of those substances that begs the question – what CAN’T it do?! Great addition.

  3. Kara

    Aloe vera gel. It’s an obvious one, but the gel that comes from the plant leaves is really great on sunburns.

    • Megan

      Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I left that off. Definitely aloe vera!

  4. TreeHugginMomma

    I wish I had known about Breast Milk for heat rashes, my youngest used to get them all the time, still does. Now that she is 8 we use corn starch to absorb the moisture that is causing the rash.

    • Megan

      Corn starch is great for heat rashes, isn’t it? I had forgotten about that. Thank you for the reminder!

      • TreeHugginMomma

        With her sensative skin it was about all we could use, hence really wishing I had known about the Breast Milk.

  5. Sally

    We use an herbal (we’ve used homeopathic, but prefer herbal) arnica salve for bruises and sore muscles. Also, lavender essential oil on a sunburn will help take the sting out.

    Here’s one I never would have thought of. My friend’s kids have chicken pox right now and the itching became unbearable. Nothing was working, or working well enough. Someone recommended honey with cinnamon, so they all dabbed it on, and it not only helped, but it stopped the itching for over 12 hours. They were sticky, happy kids. 🙂 Nature is amazing. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    • Megan

      SO GOOD to know that on the chicken pox. I wonder if it would work on mosquito bites, too?

      • Sally

        My philosphy is anything safe and cheap is worth a shot! lol I imagine it would help. Cinnamon is a little bit astringent (shrinks swollen tissues):
        Cloves numb things a bit, which makes them good for a toothache.

      • TreeHugginMomma

        I am wondering the same thing and just in case I am taking some camping with me to try.

        • TreeHugginMomma

          So we went camping 2 weekends in a row, still searching for a way to prevent the bites to begin with, but after weekend 2 we came home, I mixed some honey and some cinamon and put them on all the little bug bites. A bit sticky but a success. Its day 3 and almost all the bug bites are gone and there have been no itchies along the way. We have had the little one put it on at night after her shower and she did apply to a couple during the day because she said they itched (I think she just wanted to lick the honey off her fingers…..) Keeping this one handy.

  6. suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter

    i love arnica. i have a homeopathic kids kit and used the arnica tablets and their bumps/bruises ointment when my baby hit his head, and his big goose-egg disappeared in hours. we’ve had good luck with chamomillia for teething and hepar sulph for croup, too.

    magnesium bath salts and drinking raw milk both improve my daughters eczema considerably.

    we use anise oil to repel bugs, and it works on all but black flies. (it also makes you smell like an italian bakery:)

    • Megan

      Anise oil! I had not heard of that. Sounds like a great addition though. Thank you!

  7. Marci@OvercomingBusy

    We always keep tea tree oil on hand for cuts and scrapes as well as keeping bugs away. Aloe is another summer essential. My grandmother always used a paste of powdered milk and water for itchy summer rashes.

    • Megan

      Oh, wow! I had never heard of the powdered milk and water solution. I’ll have to give that a try!

  8. claire at econathome

    Tea tree oil is also great for preventing and treating lice–a common summer pest!

    • Megan

      I did not know that! As the mom of two girls, I will definitely be keeping this one in mind. Thanks, Claire!

  9. Stephanie P

    Thanks so much for including breast milk. All my friends look at me like I’m beyond crazy when I say it’s the best thing for pink eye. They’re completely gone when I let them know you apply the breast milk directly to the eye…

  10. Jen

    I love tea tree oil, also known as Melaleuca. I love all essential oils.. it’s really amazing what they treat and all naturally!.. but I do use my Melaleuca and Lavender the most! Sunburn? I add a few drops of Lavender to a 4 oz bottle of water then spay on the burned skin. It eases the burn and enhances the skins ability to heal itself. I only use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils though that ensure there are no synthetics or pesticides in them (which is what people are often allergic to when using essential oils). I’m offering a 10% discount on Melaleuca during the month of July –

    • Jan

      I was in hospital for 7 weeks, with an open surgical wound that ran almost from hipbone to hipbone. the nurses used a honey ointment to promote healing. It took nearly three months to heal, but healed flat and smooth, with much less of a scar than I expected.

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