An emetic is used to induce vomiting in certain cases of swallowed poison. Every medicine chest should contain an emetic, and syrup of ipecac is recommended. It’s convenient to have two small bottles, each containing a single dose of two to three teaspoonfuls for immediate use. Note, however, that vomiting should not be induced automatically in a case of poisoning. If the poison is an item not normally edible – such as petrol, turpentine, cleaning fluid – you should not make the child vomit because the poison may do more harm on the way back.

Nose drops, nasal aspirator, and decongestant

Along with aspirin and paracetamol, these items are useful in treating the symptoms of common colds. Ask your doctor to recommend types and uses.

Thermometer and lubricant

A multipurpose, stubby-bulb thermometer, which can be used rectally, is most practical. Any lubricating ointment will serve to grease a thermometer for rectal use, but a water-soluble gel is superior because it readily washes off in cold water.


The following are useful for treating minor accidents: antiseptic solution, antibiotic ointment, sterile gauze pads (50 x 50 and 76 x 76 mm), rolls of knitted bandage (50 mm and 76 mm wide), adhesive tape (6 mm wide), steristrips, and adhesive bandages of assorted sizes.


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