Best First Aid Kits for the Car: Doctor Know

Vivek Nayyar
by Vivek Nayyar

Top 8 Best First Aid Kits

After assembling a helpful list of car emergency kits, we noticed there are an abundance of kits dedicated to simple first aid. Given that your author has a terrible history of managing to injure himself during even the simplest of jobs, today’s list is very fitting.

Like the emergency kits which contained more than first aid gear, don’t be led astray or enticed by containers simply by dint of their item count. Some will pad their total with scads of cotton swabs, for example, or include five dozen safety pins for no reason at all. Caveat emptor, folks, especially when buying a product upon which you may depend if calamity strikes.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Compact First Aid Kit

Again, there's nothing wrong with selecting products from a trusted brand name that's been around forever. Johnson & Johnson, despite the myriad of internet conspiracy theories and their penchant for owning far too many brands, do know what they're talking about in this segment.

This is a 140-piece kit, including the likes of real Band-Aids (yes, some knock-offs have less stick) and actual Benadryl. Go ahead and toss in a few extra Tylenol as the stock provided here is woefully inadequate. There's even a Ben-Gay compress for the bingo and Toyota Avalon crowd.

Pros

  • Brand-name products, assembled by a known quantity

Cons

  • Stingy on the pain meds

Bottom Line

  • Familiarity can be a good thing

2. FAO-442 All-Purpose First Aid Kit

More than doubling the piece count (with worthwhile items) of the Johnson & Johnson kit is this product from a company called FAO. While the brand may sound like a car company from behind the Iron Curtain, it actually stands for First Aid Only. Fair enough, then.

A clear plastic liner permits a quick and easy assessment of what's on hand, including the ability to see if someone has made off with the handy scissors that are included in this kit. Also on board are bandages of various sizes, plenty of antiseptic wipes, and sterile gauze.

Pros

  • You won't need to restock this any time soon

Cons

  • Soft-sided bag can be punctured

Bottom Line

  • Buy it and forget it until needed

3. LightningX Small First Responder Trauma Bag

Adding the word 'trauma' to any product evokes a sense of urgency. After all, if Ford's small car had been called the Fiesta Trauma Hatchback it might not have found itself on the cutting room floor. Alas. This kit is understandably bulky, given the amount of potentially life-saving equipment on board.

There are shears, penlights, adhesive strips in abundance, ammonia, eyewash - the lot, basically. It even includes a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, items that are useful in the hands of those who know what they're doing. Fun fact: the technical name for a blood pressure cuff is a Sphygmomanometer. Hey, you can even pick from a variety of colors for the bag.

Pros

  • Allows one to be prepared like a professional

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

  • Worth the cash

4. Tidy Globe Complete First Aid Kit

Compact, lightweight, and flexible, this kit is marketed not just at car owners but also those who enjoy recreational activities like boating and hiking. Despite measuring just 10.5 inches by 6.5 inches, it contains items like a Mylar emergency blanket and disposable gloves.

Also inside are tongue depressors for oral inspections or toy bridge building, relief pads for stings, and a bunch of butterfly closure strips which are very handy for keeping a gauze bandage together (ask me how I know). It's tightly packed, so adding personal medications will require a plastic bag, not a hard pill bottle.

Pros

  • Packed to the brim

Cons

  • Packed to the brim

Bottom Line

  • A good addition to the bug-out bag

5. Scuddles Emergency Trauma Tactical Kit

Scuddles might sound like a mispronounced name of the family cat but is actually a brand of first aid kit, apparently. If the word 'trauma' adds gravitas to a product, then the appearance of 'military' and 'survival' should have a similar effect, not to mention the appearance of the bag itself which looks like a prop from M*A*S*H.

Its 4.7/5 rating is stellar, drawing praise for the kit's robustness and variety of items if not its bulky size. A stout-looking tourniquet is included, along with an aluminum-cored wrap that's good for immobilizing fractured limbs. There are also shears and, for some reason, a permanent marker.

Pros

  • Compact, well fitted, excellent reviews

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Bottom Line

  • Prepare yourself for the apocalypse

6. Be Smart & Get Prepared First Aid Kit

Hey, if there's one product that does what it says on the label, it's this one. Being smart and getting prepared are parts of the boy scout motto, or something. This is a hard-sided first aid kit that might not be ideal for the backpack but is more than suitable to store in the cargo area of your vehicle.

An airtight rubber seal around the case's edge will help keep out the nasty stuff that frequently rolls around in a vehicle trunk. Inside one will find the usual first aid items plus useful goodies like burn cream ointment, wound closure strips, and antacid tablets for those late afternoon trips to Golden Corral.

Pros

  • Huge number of items, well sealed

Cons

  • Some reports of sketchy quality items

Bottom Line

  • Read the reviews first

7. FAO Vehicle First Aid Kit

We're back to the FAO brand again, this time with a kit that is specifically marketed for use in vehicles. One of the only first aid kits on this list assembled in a metal container, it'll take more than a few jostles and bumps to accidentally intrude on its contents.

Apparently sufficient to treat twenty-five or more people, it contains a number of adhesive bandages, first-aid tape, sterile eye pads, and some antibiotic ointments. The triangular-shaped dressings promise big laughs if you paint them like slices of pizza beforehand.

Pros

  • Robust container made of metal

Cons

  • Would be best mounted on a wall

Bottom Line

  • Great for a work van or delivery truck

8. Lifeline First Aid Emergency Kit

There is a trio of kits available from this seller, ranging from 30 pieces to 121 pieces. This is the smallest of the three, meaning its size permits it to be housed in a spare tire well or under the seat. Actually, that space is usually occupied by discarded coffee cups and soiled copies of Mad magazine. Best not to put it under the seat, then.

With 30 essential preparedness items from bandage to wipes, this compact first aid kit should keep you ready to treat minor cuts and scrapes that can occur while on the road or at home. Core components include bandages, a variety of wipes, and an emergency whistle.

Pros

  • Great for small spaces

Cons

  • Just includes the bare essentials

Bottom Line

  • Tuck this one in the center console

What is the best first aid kit for cars?

Although any first aid kit that contains medications and medical tools from a reputed brand can be considered a good one, listed below are a couple of recommendations that are worth taking a look at:

First Aid Only All-Purpose ( Buy here!)

This first aid kit is listed as Amazon’s best seller and has received a 4.8-star rating from more than 54K users there. Weighing around a pound, the kit has 298 pieces of medical supplies that make you well-armed for any kind of mishap.

Swiss Safe 200-Piece First Aid ( Buy here!)

This 200-piece kit is good for those who love hiking, camping, and other such adventurous activities. In addition, the gear can fit inside a backpack or car’s glove compartment, and being an all-purpose set, it can be used even at home.

LIFELINE-4180 AAA ( Buy here!)

This 121-piece first aid kit is equipped with almost every necessary supply including an emergency whistle, bandages, etc., and is best for road trips.

Depending on your budget and the space available in the glove compartment of your car, you can choose a first aid kit of your preference to have a safe and tension-free drive.

Can you leave a first aid kit in the car?

The answer to this question depends on the time you wish to leave your car unused. For instance, if you drive daily and keep the inside temperature of the vehicle comfortable, you can and you must leave the first aid kit in your car as taking it out and then putting it back in daily might be tedious and cumbersome.

On the other hand, if you believe that you are not going to use the automotive for a while, say for a couple of days or a month, the adverse temperature inside the car may cause harm to some expirable supplies like medical ointments, masks, etc. Therefore, in such conditions, it would be a good idea to take the kit out and keep it somewhere safe.

What should be in a car trauma kit?

Although the car trauma kits are smaller than first-aid kits, the items that they contain are used to deal with life-threatening mishaps. A typical car trauma kit should have:

Bandage Materials

Conforming Gauze

Sterile Gauze

Bleeding Treatment Items

Gloves

Clotting Gauze

Trauma Pad

Fracture or Sprain Treatment Items

Triangular Bandage

Treatment Items for Wounds

Antiseptic Wipe

General Supply

Duct Tape

Information

Trauma Treatment Instructions Booklet or Manual

Listed above are the most essential items that a small trauma kit must contain. However, if your vehicle has more room, you can get a bigger kit and store more emergency supplies for better care, until professional help arrives or you reach the nearest medical facility.

In this context, you may want to consider a kit with a good number of positive reviews on Amazon. Even though you can choose any trauma treatment gear of your preference, the one listed below is worth taking a look at:

Adventure Medical Kits Trauma Pak ( Buy here!)

This pack contains all the elements mentioned in the above list. Furthermore, the package is small in size and can fit inside a traditional first-aid kit that your car may already have.

Do I need a first aid kit in my car?

A quick answer would be, YES, you MUST carry a first aid kit in your car at all times. The reason behind this insisting reply is, you never know what hassles you come across while you’re on the road. Even if it is not your fault, you may face mishaps. That said, it would be a wise idea to have a first aid kit in your car to deal with minor wounds.

You can assess the significance of such a pack of emergency supplies by understanding the fact that almost all cars nowadays come with a first-aid kit and it is considered as important as a toolkit that the vehicles mandatorily have. However, the kits that come with the cars might not have all the necessary items, and it is advisable to get a separate, well-equipped one from a reputed brand for yourself.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: New Africa / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Vivek Nayyar
Vivek Nayyar

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