LIST: Baby's first aid kit
You need a lot more than just cute clothes for baby. Here are some other essentials and safety tips.

This article first appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Your Pregnancy magazine. 

First aid kit 

  • Arnica gel – for bruises
  • Cradle cap cream
  • Nasal aspirator – to help clear baby’s nose
  • Saline eye rinse – for gummy eyes or blocked ducts
  • Saline spray – for stuffy noses
  • Bum cream
  • Ear thermometer – 38 degrees and higher is cause for concern
  • Paracetamol syrup or suppositories – for pain and fever but usually only under medical advisement
  • Teething gel or powder – rub on sore gums
  • Antiseptic ointment – for scrapes and grazes
  • Colic drops
  • Wound and graze powder – heals navels and wounds
  • Medicine/oral syringe – to dispense medicine
  • Surgical spirits – for cord care

In case of emergency 

Emergency situations are downright scary and particularly if they involve your baby. As difficult as it is, you must try and stay calm and follow these simple steps: 

1. Call 112 (from a cellphone) or 10177

For private services you can call 082 911 (Netcare) or 084 124 (ER 24). If you are with someone, ask them to call while you attend to your baby.

2. If you think your baby is seriously injured, do not move her unless she is in further danger

Keep her warm and comfortable and wait for help to arrive. If a drowning occurs, the rule is to keep baby cold until help arrives. 

3. Have your family’s basic health information handy

You should keep a record of your children’s dates of birth, immunisations and any medical history in a safe place that can be easily accessed in the event of an emergency. Also print this information and stick it on the fridge.

The paramedics will require as much information as possible to make a speedy diagnosis and assessment of the situation.

Car seat safety 

Getting baby home after the hospital can be nerve-wracking. Here is some advice to ensure your baby is as safe as possible in their car seat. 

Rear-facing, infant-only seats are ideal for newborns. Babies should be kept in a rear-facing seat for as long as possible, but at least until up to 13kg. A good rule of thumb is if you can move a strap, harness or the seat more than 2.5cm, then you need to adjust it.

Make sure the straps are tight and that the harness clip is even with the baby’s shoulders. The straps should be in the slot that lines up just above the infants shoulders. If your baby still doesn’t seem secure in the seat (due to size), placed rolled blankets on each side. 

However, do not place anything under the harness straps.

Using the car seat:

  • Be sure you know how the harness system works. You can tighten and loosen the straps around your baby with the harness adjustment lever.
  • Adjust the harnesses to make the belts snug. It’s too loose if you can pinch any of the harness material between your fingers.
  • The straps should always lie flat. Straighten them out if they become twisted.
  • After you buckle your child in, tug on the straps to make sure they are secure.

If your infant’s head flops forward, make the seat more level by wedging a folded towel or other firm support under the front of it (usually between 30 and 45 degrees). This will allow your baby’s head to rest comfortably back.

Top tips 

  • Replace expired medication and products as often as necessary.
  • Create an extra kit of essentials that you can leave in your car.
  • Check the car seat’s label to make sure it’s correct for your baby’s weight. 
  • Type up your family’s medical information on a card, laminate it and keep it in your car in case of emergency.

Do you have a question about your pregnancy health that you'd like an expert's feedback on? Email to and we may publish your question along with advice from a specialist. 

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