I was such a rookie when I first started traveling with my kids 11 years ago. I didn't even give a second thought to an emergency...what was I thinking? The 3rd trip in, I realized it was better to be prepared so I purchased one of those ready made first aid kits. What a mistake. When I opened it up out on the road, I realized it had some weird stuff you might use in an ER but not practical stuff that I just knew we were going to need out on the road.
Nowadays, we've put together our own customized first aid kit which has been (although not literally, thank G-d) a lifesaver. Here's what I think makes a great first aid kit especially if you are traveling with kids. This is a great starting place and then customize to your family's needs.
1. Find a small soft case that has lots of pockets.-Often times Johnson and Johnson will give you a free case with the purchase of 3 of their products. I got this one at Target awhile ago and just got one for my son Isaac (who is leaving on an 11th grade trip to Poland and Israel) at Rite Aid. Mine is a supercool neoprene one (it even comes with a tiny flashlight!) and Isaacs is a little cloth number but they both are red, have a handle, lots of mesh pockets and zipper shut. Small enough to fit in your backpack without getting in the way.
2. Add the typical first aid stuff -I usually add assorted band aids, alcohol wipes and Neosporin.-Great for small cuts. Anything larger, I am gonna tie a tourniquet with someones t-shirt and get to a hospital asap.
3. Take a good selection of over the counter stuff you use at home-I always take a small pack of Advil, Pepto-Bismol and some kind of cold medicine, and some Claritin or other allergy medicine. Although any number of drugstores are usually not far away, you never know when you'll need this stuff and it's just infinitely easier to have it on hand for quick relief. I also pack some acid reducer and gas-ex.
4. Be prepared for Bugs-I always take bug spray and sunscreen in my backpack, but if we do get bitten-and that can include bed-bugs which are immune to bug repellant, I always make sure I've got Benadryl creme on hand to handle the itch. It's a lifesaver (and a skin-saver).
5. Lastly, it never hurts to have a small pack of wipes. -I like "Wet Ones for Sensitive Skin". You never know what you might accidentally touch or fall into that might need wiping off. I know what you're thinking, and yes, it's happened to me and my kids more than once.
I leave the Ace bandages, the medical tape and scissors at home. No need to bring a portable hospital, just the stuff you'll need in a pinch to carry on and keep everyone comfortable. These are only my suggestions and hopefully a great starting point for your own first aid kit which I urge you to not leave home without!-Safe Travels, and I mean it!!!