Carrying a first aid kit in your car is mandatory in many European countries and even where it is not it is a good idea.
Cuts, burns and abrasions from working on cars or incurred during that shopping trip or weekend away can all be treated effectively and quickly on the spot, before calling for professional help if needed.
However, manufacturers can’t agree on the contents of a first aid kit designed to fit in a car, so we’ve opened eight to find the best ones to keep in the trunk of your car.
How we tested them
Unless you’re involved in an accident, most traffic accidents tend to be cuts, scrapes, burns, bruises and burns, so we based our test on dealing with these medical issues.
Larger sets are stored in the trunk, so a hard case prevents damage and can provide a useful work surface. Smaller nylon bags are more suitable for the door pockets or glove compartment.
Ideally, the container should be in the international colors green with a white cross. We looked for easy-to-understand instructions and a balanced selection of dressings and dressings, using sturdy scissors, strong tape and/or safety pins, sterile wipes and two pairs of gloves. We were pleased to see that none of our samples contained any antiseptic cream or cotton wool as this is a paramedics nightmare when used together.
Our top two may not have been in the recommended colors, but they made up for it with a good balance of content and price. If you want something more elaborate and are willing to pay a higher price, look for the Blue Dot kit.
- AA Ultimate First Aid Kit
- Sakura Premium First Aid Kit SS5418
- Blue Dot Small First Aid Kit for Home and Work
AA Ultimate First Aid Kit
The AA’s first aid kit was clearly related to the Sakura SS5418 (below), as it was the same color and size. However, the big plus was the plastic holder on the inside with 12 compartments. All of these were marked with notes and diagrams related to the content.
This is very handy in case of an emergency and makes it easier to put everything back in place. The contents were almost identical, with only a few differences in bandages and patches. Unlike the Sakura, it didn’t have disposable masks, but the easy-to-use pouches outweighed the small price difference.
Sakura Premium First Aid Kit SS5418
Similar to the AA kit (above), the Sakura’s nylon pouch came in black with a white cross. Although the color was not ideal, the content was well chosen. Getting everything back in the pouch was a breeze, but made easier by a four-pocket holder.
We loved the two burn bandages and scissors, although providing just one pair of wipes and two pairs of gloves was a bit stingy. The instructions in the kit were average at best, but we liked the good range of bandages (including conformal and triangular options) and foil blanket for shock victims. The kit was priced well enough to overcome our niggles.
Blue Dot Small First Aid Kit for Home and Work
This kit came in a sturdy green plastic case with a built-in carrying handle and wall mounting bracket. Overall there was a reasonable selection of content but like some others the instructions were very poor.
We reviewed the Tuff Cut scissors, which would cut through most materials, and a generous six pairs of nitrile gloves. Given the size of the case, we expected more than a single burn gel, but still there were 20 sterile wipes – only the Draper had more. There’s a lot to praise for this set, but it seemed pricey compared to our winner.
Draper Large First Aid Kit 81290
Draper’s set had the highest price and largest plastic case. It was best for product selection, as it contained a lot of just about everything, with 40 saline wipes, 100 plasters, different types and sizes of bandages, four triangular bandages, three foil shock blankets, and a surprising but welcome 12 pairs of nitrile gloves.
We liked the seriously sharp serrated scissors, but there should have been more than two hydrogel burn dressings. The instructions were limited, but if you’re serious about first aid, this should cover most contingencies.
Sealey First Aid Kit for Cars, Taxis and Small Vans SFA02.v2
- Price: about £19
- Rating: 3.5 stars
- Contact: sealey.co.uk
Sealey’s green nylon bag was (only just) the second smallest here after the General Medi, so repacking the contents was a pain, although the double plastic bags helped. We loved the serrated scissors, 10 sterile wipes, and the dual 4×4-inch burn gels.
We would have liked more than just two rolls of bandage (standard and compliant), although we were happy with a triangular bandage, foil blanket and two pairs of nitrile gloves. Overall it’s not a bad selection of products but compared to some others, a bit overpriced.
Boots Travel First Aid Kit 10258543
- Price: about £12
- Rating: 3 stars
- Contact: boots.com
Boots’ offering came in a nice rectangular nylon pouch, albeit in blue instead of green. It claimed to be ideal for cuts, scrapes, splinters, blisters and burns, but only had three cleaning wipes and only one pair of gloves.
We loved the specific blister plasters, the triangular bandage, the four-foot adaptive bandage and the double burn gels, and the Boots was the only one with an instant ice pack. However, the included instructions were limited and surprisingly it was one of only two kits in this test that didn’t include scissors. For the price it should have been better equipped.
General Medi Mini First Aid Kit 92-Piece
The small green nylon pouch contained a foil blanket, 15 ml saline, 27 plasters and 14 antiseptic wipes/alcohol preparations. Squeezing everything back in was difficult and would be more after an emergency. Of the 92 pieces delivered, 20 were cotton swabs, which must be used with extreme care to prevent fibers from entering open wounds.
The scissors were quite small and there were no gloves or bandages for burns. The instructions were limited and focused heavily on dealing with injuries caused by wildlife, including funnel web spiders and jellyfish.
Blue Dot HSE Standard 10-Person Standard First Aid Kit
We loved this sturdy, strong green box that was held closed by sturdy clips. However, the instructions were very general, with nothing specific regarding this kit. The contents were heavily bandaged, with four triangular, 12 standard sterile and two eye pads included.
In addition to the six bandage safety pins, there were six salt wipes and 20 plasters. Oddly enough, there was only one pair of vinyl gloves and no scissors (not ideal with so many bandages), foil blanket or anything specific for treating burns. A curious mix that is not particularly suitable for car use.
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