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Do First Aid Kits Need a Redesign?

If you have a first aid kit, do you know how to use what's inside, beyond the bandaids? Even if you've been to a first aid class in the last few years—which you likely haven't, unless you've been working in child care, or as a lifeguard, or in another specialized job—you might not immediately remember what to do when you're faced with a real-life emergency. Can better-designed first aid kits help?

One solution, proposed a couple of years ago by Ying Hern Pow, includes an LED screen that steps you through instructions for any given situation. It also uses GPS to help locate the nearest hospital, and the glowing screen can act as a flashlight (or wall light, if the kit is hung on the wall).

On the lower-tech side, kits can also just use graphic design to better explain what to do in an accident. Kristine Erdman's design, below, includes simple infographics to present the steps for helping someone in common situations. Each type of injury has its own compartment of supplies in the kit, and when it's unzipped, the relevant instructions are revealed. Her design also has some electronic features, like a button that can be pushed to make an emergency call.

DesignIt, a Danish company, created a similar kit, First Aid Within Reach, that's arranged by type of injury, color-coded, and filled with simple instructions. But none of these kits are widely available; the first two appear to only be concepts. Isn't it time to redesign the cheap, ubiquitous first aid kits sold at drugstores? Most come with instruction manuals, but aren't there better ways—like simple infographics—to quickly communicate information when it's needed most?

Images courtesy of Ying Hern Pow and Yanko Design

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