How to organize your medicine cabinet

When was the last time you checked your medicine cabinet? If you’re like most parents, it’s probably been a while. It is important to remember to restock, de-clutter and update any expired medicine every six months. When your child is sick or injured, the last thing you want to do is try to remember where the antibiotic ointment is or if the fever medicine has expired.

Medicine cabinet checklist for kids

To prepare for minor childhood injuries as well as common illnesses your child might get, consider stocking your first aid kit with the following items:


  • Hydrocortisone Cream 1%
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antihistamines (Zyrtec® or Benadryl®)
  • Cough and cold relief (for children 12 years and older)
  • Nasal saline drops or spray
  • Painkillers and antipyretics (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
  • Pedialyte®
  • Vaseline products (Vaseline® or Aquaphor®)
  • Solar cream

First aid tools

  • alcohol wipes
  • Bandages of different sizes
  • Cotton balls/swabs
  • Eye wash cup for eye injuries
  • Gauze
  • Ice and heat packs
  • Small bottle with water to rinse cuts
  • Self-adhesive strips for minor sprains
  • Tweezers
  • Wipes and tissues

Other tools

  • Medicine dispenser (syringes or cups or droppers)
  • Bulb or nasal suction tube
  • Thermometer
  • Waterproof sick bags or a reusable container

You should also stock up on items related to your family’s health issues, such as EpiPens and asthma inhalers.

Do not store children’s medicines directly next to adult versions. This will reduce the chances of someone accidentally grabbing the wrong package.

Don’t forget a portable first aid kit

It’s important to keep a portable cart or travel bag full of the first aid essentials listed above that you can just take when you go on vacation or in the car.

It’s also a good idea to keep basic emergency information hidden in your portable kit, such as:

  • A copy of your child’s insurance information
  • Phone numbers (including after-hours number) of your child’s pediatrician and dentist
  • The Poison Helpline (800-222-1222)
  • Contact details and address of the nearest emergency department or pediatric care
  • Your child’s current weight, for medication dosage

Keep your medications up to date and safely stored

Every six months, check for expired medications and throw them away. Also, make sure the medications you have on hand are appropriate for your children’s weight and age.

You can extend the shelf life of most medications by storing them at room temperature and away from moisture. Unfortunately, that means your bathroom may be one of the worst places to keep a medicine cabinet. Instead, use a nearby linen closet, powder room, or similar central location.

Download our medicine cabinet checklist here.