First Aid Kit Refills: How to Restock and Maintain Your First Aid Supplies

In Australia, many workplaces are required by law to have a stocked first-aid kit on hand. This is to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on the job, from tradies on the construction site to office workers at their desks. But what about at home? Even if you’re not bound by law, having first-aid kits readily available is just as crucial.

Unlike that jar of vegemite that seems to last forever, all the content of your kit has various expiry dates. Expired dressings can lose their stickiness, and out-of-date medications can be ineffective or even harmful to the person it is administered. Also, accidents might happen in quick succession, ergo, those supplies will get used up quicker than expected. 

This article is meant to be your guide on refilling your medical kit. We’ll explain why having a well-stocked kit is vital, give you some top tips on refilling it with the right supplies, and ensure you’re ready to handle any bumps, bruises or emergencies that might come your way.

Why Your First Aid Kit Needs Regular Inspection and Restocking

According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, roughly half a million Australians visited emergency departments between 2021 and 2023 for unintentional injuries. 

While a first-aid kit won’t replace a trip to the hospital for serious injuries, it can be a lifesaver for minor emergencies at home, work, or even on that weekend camping trip.

Having a prepared first-aid kit can make a big difference in those crucial moments after an accident. Basic first-aid can help prevent infections, stop bleeding, and even reduce scarring 

Using expired content from your kit to treat a wounded or sick person could actually slow down healing or even cause an infection. A quick check every six months ensures everything in your kit is fresh and ready to go.

It’s not just expiry dates you need to worry about. Sometimes, supplies get used up, damaged, or even lost in the shuffle. Regular inspections help ensure you have everything you need, and that everything is in good shape.

Furthermore, being prepared can also give you peace of mind knowing you can handle minor emergencies without a frantic dash to the chemist.

Taking Stock of Your Supplies

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to take inventory of the supplies in your first aid kit:

Empty out the kit

Take everything out of the kit and lay it all out on a clean surface. This will give you a clear picture of what you have and what might be missing.

Inspect and Identify

Carefully examine each item in your kit. Check the expiry dates on bandages, dressings, and medications. Look for tears or rips in the packaging. Is anything looking worse for wear, like dried-out wipes or rusty tweezers? If any item is past its prime or damaged, be sure to discard it. 

Check for the Essentials

Here in Australia, there’s no one-size-fits-all list for first-aid kit contents. However, some essential items you might want to have on hand include:

  • Sterile dressings (various sizes)
  • Adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Pain relief medication (paracetamol or ibuprofen)
  • Thermometer
  • Instant ice pack

Make a List

Once you’ve identified what needs replacing, jot down a list of what you need to restock. As a tip, you should always keep a permanent marker handy in your first-aid kit. 

As you use something up, jot down the missing item on the outside of the kit as a reminder for restocking. This way, you won’t forget a thing when it’s time for your first aid kit refills.

Customising Your Kit

Aside from the essentials, you can pack other necessary items that suit your specific condition into the kit. Here’s how you can tailor your kit:

Family Needs

If you have young children in the house, perhaps you could add child-friendly pain relief medication and smaller-sized bandages. You might also want to include a soothing spray for insect bites and stings.


If allergies are a concern for you or your family, your kit should include antihistamines in your kit. However, you must always consult a doctor before using antihistamines, especially for children.

Outdoor Activities

If you or your mates love the great outdoors, your kit would be incomplete if it did not contain insect repellent, blister pads, sunscreen, and a tick-removal tool. If you’re gearing up for more adventurous activities, you might want to include a CPR face shield and a whistle.

Workplace Hazards

Depending on your workplace environment, you might need to consider additional first aid kit supplies like burn cream, safety pins or even eye protection.

Chronic Conditions

If you or someone in your household has a chronic condition, you may need to include specific medications or supplies in your first-aid kit. Be sure to check with the doctor before you make this compilation. They are in a better position to give you a list of medications that are suitable for that specific condition.

Wound Care for Specific Injuries 

Additional supplies for specific injuries might be necessary. For example, let’s say someone in the household is prone to sports injuries. 

In this case, the kit could include elastic wraps for sprains or a splint for stabilising broken bones (remember, a splint is not a substitute for seeking medical attention for a broken bone). For burns, a burn gel can provide pain relief and promote healing.

Emergency Preparedness

It won’t hurt to include a few disaster relief materials in your kit, especially if you live in a region that is prone to these unfortunate situations. Natural disasters or emergencies can disrupt access to medical care. 

You could include a basic survival kit within your first-aid kit, containing items like a water purification kit, emergency rations, and a whistle for signalling for help. The Australian Red Cross has a helpful guide on building an emergency kit. Feel free to customise your kit to meet their standards.

Top Tips for Maintaining a Ready First Aid Kit

Maintaining your kit requires more than just surface-level effort. Here are some ways you can ensure that your kit is ready to be used at all times:

Invest in quality supplies

While saving money is always a good thing, skimping on first-aid supplies can be risky. When buying bulk first aid supplies, you must only opt for reputable brands and ensure the items meet Australian safety standards.

Store your kit in a cool, dry, and easily accessible location 

The last thing you want during an emergency is to be scrambling to find your first-aid kit. Consider a central location in your home, like a kitchen drawer or a wall-mounted cabinet.

Invest in a sturdy and well-labelled first-aid kit container

A durable container will protect your supplies from dust, moisture, and damage. A clear container or one with labels allows you to easily see what’s inside.

Get into the habit of checking your kit regularly

A good rule of thumb is to check it every six months or so. This allows you to replace expired items and ensure everything is still in good condition.

Consider taking a first-aid course

This is a great idea, especially if you have children or vulnerable adults that would require intense care with these kits. Learning basic first-aid skills can empower you to handle minor emergencies with confidence. Many organisations offer first-aid courses that can equip you with the knowledge and skills to provide basic first-aid care.

We hope this post was helpful. Check your first-aid kit now and assess if you need to order/restock fresh first aid kit supplies