Emergency Care For You

Emergency Physicians Offer Summer Travel Safety Tips

Gas prices are on the rise, but that won't stop millions of Americans from hitting the highways this vacation season, beginning with the Memorial Day weekend.  No matter where you and your family are going or how you will get there, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) wants to remind you to keep safety in mind.  A little time spent familiarizing yourself with the contents of your Fist Aid Kit may go a long way in keeping your family healthy and safe.

"One important way you can prepare to respond to many common medical emergencies is to keep a traveler's first aid kit in your vehicle," said Dr. Frederick Blum, ACEP spokesperson.  "But you have to know how to use each item in your kit, otherwise you spend valuable time reading instructions rather than responding to the medical emergency." 

ACEP and Dr. Blum recommend the following items be in your First Aid Kit and that they be periodically exchanged for freshness:

  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin tablets
  • Antihistamine
  • Anti-nausea/motion sickness medication
  • Bandages of assorted sizes
  • Bandage closures, safety pins
  • Triangle bandage
  • Elastic wraps
  • Gauze and adhesive tape
  • Sharp scissors with rounded tips
  • Antiseptic swipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Disposable, instant-activating cold packs
  • A first aid manual
  • Change for pay phone

Before you go, ACEP has following tips for those who travel by motor vehicle:

  • Inspect, or have your car inspected - check brakes, tires, antifreeze, wiper fluid, gasoline, lights, battery, and wipers.
  • Pack several blankets, drinking water, flares, and two flashlights with fresh batteries.
  • Check with your health plan about coverage in your planned destination.
  • Share arrival, departure and destination information with close friends and family so that people know where and when you are expected.
  • Get plenty of rest before you leave.
  • If you wear glasses or lenses, take along an extra pair, and bring your prescription with you.

While on the road...

  • Leave early, and give yourself plenty of time to make the drive. Don't speed!
  • Make sure everyone wears safety belts at all times.
  • Children should ride in the back seat. Children younger than 6 or under 60 pounds should ride in an approved car safety seat appropriate for their height and weight.
  • Avoid taking over-the-counter medications that make you drowsy while you drive.
  • Never drink and drive!

"Always include copies of prescriptions and important medical information such as lists of allergies and personal medical history forms for each traveler in your first aid kit," says Blum. "Having that information with you ensures that it will be available in the event of an emergency."  "Perhaps the best advice is to take your time; after all, you are on vacation."

Obtain a complete list of recommended items for a Traveler's First Aid Kit, or a personal medical history form