AA and New Zealand Red Cross raise the bar for self-help supplies

23 December 2020

The Automobile Association and New Zealand Red Cross have released a range of new first aid kits they hope will raise the bar for self-help supplies nationwide.

AA Retail Product Co-ordinator Thiruna Selvaratnam said making the decision to partner with New Zealand Red Cross on the kits was an easy one.

“We wanted to make sure that our AA kits provide the best most-up-to date products on the market and are user friendly when the worst happens. Now our new Vehicle First Aid Kit has specialist products like the TraumaFix pack to quickly assist with severe bleeding and BurnSoothe for treating burns. That’s an important change because while airbags are proven to reduce fatalities and serious injuries in vehicle accidents, they can also cause minor burns when they deploy.

“We’ve also put just as much thought into our new Home and Travel kits to ensure they’re stocked with everything our Members and customers need whether they’re planning to stay in during the cooler months or pack the car up and head to the slopes,” Thiruna said.

New Zealand Red Cross Product Development Manager Marcus Bird said he was surprised to learn that there is currently no official standard for vehicle first aid kits sold in New Zealand. Other countries, such as Britain, have had a national standard for more than five years.

“The first thing I decided to do was lead an informal review of what was available on the market here and I was shocked to find that many of these so-called vehicle kits are just smaller versions of a household first aid kit.

“One kit we examined contained 178 pieces which included 100 cotton tips and 12 safety pins, yet had nothing useful to stop serious bleeding. It’s not until you need to use your kit for real that you discover if it’s up for the job – and then it could be too late,” Marcus said.

In developing the AA’s new Vehicle First Aid Kit, New Zealand Red Cross used accident statistics and the British Standard (which utilises research data found in Formula 1 racing) to better understand what’s required in that critical period before emergency services arrive at the crash scene.

“There might not yet be an official standard for vehicle first aid kits in New Zealand, but we hope our new AA and New Zealand Red Cross Vehicle First Aid Kits will become something of an unofficial standard. And, of course, we want to make a positive difference to the outcome of anyone who’s involved in a road accident,” Marcus said.

“We have tried to put as much thought into all aspects of use for these kits as possible, and that includes our decision to sell these kits without the usual plastic shrink wrapping so they’re good for both the health of our Members and the environment,” Thiruna added.

Purchase the Essential Vehicle First Aid Kit


A yellow First Aid kit.