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11 items for back to school you've probably overlooked

When the kids go back to school, life quickly becomes busy again. So, make sure to stock up on these essential items for taking to school and storing at home.

By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Aug 29, 2023

Back to school with Boots

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By now you’ve probably been out and bought all of the usual back to school bits, such as your child’s uniform, shoes, backpack and lunchbox, but once you’re back in the school routine there’s loads of other items you will need to keep life running smoothly. 

Think about the little bits and bobs you pack in your child’s school bag when you send them off on their first day, as well as those essential items you need at home for when your child falls over at school or gets a case of the dreaded head lice. 

With the help of Boots, we’ve drawn up a list of products you may want to buy now to save you from having to root around in your cupboards later. We also consulted our Mumsnet forums to see what products our users recommend and swear by themselves to create this handy guide for you. 

Here’s 11 items for going back to school that you may have overlooked.


Hand gel

Carex Moisture Plus Hand Gel, £1

What we like
  • Compact packaging

  • Kills 99.9% of bacteria

  • Fast drying

What to know

Only 50ml in size so stock up

What Mumsnet users say
teaandcustardcreamsx · Tried & Tested
Carex moisturising one. Used it before Covid and still bloody love it, doesn’t dry out my hands and love the smell.
See Post

Our verdict

Small enough to pop into their school bag, this Carex Moisture Plus Hand Gel will ensure your child keeps their hands clean during the school day.

It kills 99.99% of bacteria - so will hopefully help keep some of those nasty bugs at bay - and is fast drying so they can do a quick application before lunch or after they’ve been to the toilet.



Boots Biodegradable Fragrance Free Cleansing Wipes, £1

What we like
  • Biodegradable

  • Plastic and chlorine free

What to know
  • Only 25 wipes in a pack

Our verdict

Another item you may want to pack in their school bag, these wipes can be used to clean and freshen your child’s skin throughout the school day. They can be used to wipe their face and hands if they’re feeling sticky after their lunch or after running around at playtime. 

Made with vitamin E, these wipes by Boots are fragrance free to help moisture and soften the skin and leave it feeling refreshed. They’re also plastic and chlorine free and biodegradable so are kind to the environment too.

Shop now: Find everything you need for back to school at Boots



Boots Multi Pocket Tissues 6 pack, 90p

What we like
  • Silky and soft

  • Great value

What to know
  • Each pack contains 10 x 4 ply tissues

What Mumsnet users say
cheerfulcoconut · Recommended
I'm just sending a water bottle, pack of tissues and spare clothes each day. Roll on sun cream and sun hat if it looks like a hot day.
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Our verdict

Let’s face it, with kids, you can never have too many tissues. From wiping a snotty nose when a winter cold hits to dabbing at a bloody knee, storing a packet of tissues in their bag or coat pocket will always come in handy.

In this Boots pack of tissues, you get six packets of ten tissues for just 90p so that should keep them stocked up for a while. The tissues are soft enough for wiping sensitive skin while still being strong so they don’t fall apart easily in your hands.


Head lice treatment

Lyclear Original Head Lice Treatment Shampoo + Head Lice Comb, £10

What we like
  • Treats lice and washes hair

  • Comb included

  • Works in just 15 minutes

What to know
  • Contains Osmolone

What Mumsnet users say
ItsAllGoingToBeFine · Tried & Tested
Lyclear shampoo. But you need to use lots and lots (at least half a bottle on fairly short hair). You need the hair to be absolutely saturated. (It suffocates them, so they can't be resistant) Then comb every few days. And then Lyclear again after a week I think?
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Our verdict

It’s one of the things parents fear most about going back to school. The dreaded head lice can make an appearance at any time during the school year and the sooner you treat it, the better.

So make sure you have a bottle of the Lyclear Original Head Lice Treatment Shampoo in your cupboard so you don’t have to rush to the shops at the last minute. It not only treats your hair, getting rid of the lice and eggs, it washes your hair at the same time. There’s also a comb included to make sure you’ve removed all the eggs. The treatment works in just 15 minutes.



Vitabiotics WellKid Multi-Vitamin Smart Chewable 30 Tablets, £3.50

What we like
  • No artificial flavours or colours

  • No preservatives, lactose or yeast

  • Wellkid is not tested on animals

  • Suitable for vegetarians

What we don't like
  • Suitable for kids from 4 to 12 years old

What Mumsnet users say
Hadenough21 · Tried & Tested
I have a fussy eater too and use Vitabiotics Wellkid. Boots always have it on 3 for 2.
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Our verdict

While eating a healthy diet is the best way to ensure your child gets all the nutrients they need, that’s not always possible with fussy children! So vitamins can help make sure they stay healthy. Each of the tablets in the Vitabiotics WellKid Multivitamins provide a range of 21 nutrients suitable for children aged 4-12 years.

These nutrients include Iodine, which contributes to the growth of children, iron for aiding cognitive development and vitamin D. The chewable tablets are a tasty mixed fruit flavour, so are just like eating a sweet, but they have no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives and are suitable for vegetarians.

Read next: Top tips for starting secondary school



Soltan Kids Once Suncare Roll On SPF50+ 50ml, £6.50

What we like
  • Roll on for easy application

  • Up to three hours water resistant

  • Suitable for sensitive skin

What we don't like
  • Apply generously

What Mumsnet users say
TruthsAndALie · Recommended
Soltan or Nivea. Soltan water resistant kids SPF50 I just layer on liberally when swimming. Nothing’s getting through that stuff!
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Our verdict

For sunny days at school, you’ll need to make sure you apply some sunscreen in the morning and ideally one that will last most of the day. This Soltan Kids Once Suncare Roll On is very easy to apply and it provides SPF 50+ protection for eight hours - from just one application.

It’s also small enough that you can put it in your child’s school bag in case they do need to reapply throughout the day. Designed for children, it’s suitable for sensitive skin and is water resistant for up to three hours so you can use it if you go on holiday too. The sunscreen has a five star UVA rating for offering the most effective protection.


Bug repellent

Boots Repel Maximum 50% DEET & PMD Roll-on, £5.50

What we like
  • Lasts up to eight hours

  • Roll on for easy application

  • Suitable for kids two and above

What we don't like
  • Wash hands after use

Our verdict

It might not be the most obvious back to school item, but it may come in handy if your child is susceptible to insect bites and you want to make sure they’re protected while at school. The Boots Repel Maximum contains 50% DEET with a strength rating of four so should provide strong protection from all kinds of bugs. 

It lasts for up to eight hours too so you can roll it on first thing in the morning and it should last the whole school day. If you’re jetting away anywhere this autumn you can use it there too as it’s designed for tropical destinations. Suitable for children aged two and above.


First aid kit

Mini First Aid Kit 74 Pieces, £13

What we like
  • Travel-sized bag

  • Well organised

  • Includes bravery stickers

What we don't like
  • Includes tweezers and safety pins

Our verdict

When kids are running around during playtime with friends, it’s not uncommon for them to come home with scraped knees or a bumped head. So ahead of the new school year, stock up on this Boots Mini First Aid Kit to make sure you have all the medical essentials to hand should you need them. 

The 74 piece set includes plasters, non-alcohol wipes, bandages, adhesive tape, alongside other first aid essentials. It also contains bravery stickers to give children after they’ve been bandaged up. The kit comes in a handy little travel sized bag too so you can pop it in your handbag for treating injuries on the go.



Boots Waterproof Plasters - 20 Pack, £1.50

What we like
  • Repels water and dirt

  • Flexible and durable

  • Hypoallergenic

What we don't like
  • 20 plasters of different sizes included

Our verdict

If there’s one thing you’ll definitely need plenty of when it comes to treating injuries, it’s plasters. Whether they’ve fallen over at school or at home, kids love to have a plaster for even the tiniest of scrapes, so it’s worth getting plenty in.

This pack of 20 waterproof plasters repel water and dirt and come in four different sizes for tackling cuts of all severities. They’re flexible too, so shouldn’t pop off as soon as your child starts playing again, and hypoallergenic so they’re kind to sensitive skin.


Travel-sized mirror

Boots Compact Mirror, £2

What we like
  • Practical

  • 2x magnification

What we don't like
  • Available in pink only

Our verdict

This one may be more for mage conscious teenagers. This Boots Compact Mirror is the perfect size for easily storing in a pocket of their school bag. A cute pink colour, the mirror has two sides and one has two times magnification so they can use it to see up close.


Water bottle

Chilly's Bottle Matte Blue, £22

What we like
  • BPA free

  • Easy to clean

  • Suitable for cold and hot drinks

What we don't like

Not dishwasher safe

What Mumsnet users say
WhatInFreshHell · Tried & Tested
My DS used a Chillys insulated bottle. It hasn't ever leaked and it keeps his water lovely and cool all day, it's easy for him to refill himself as well.
See Post

Our verdict

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hot sunny day or the chilly winter, your child will need to stay hydrated while at school so making sure they have a good, sturdy water bottle is a must. 

The Original Chilly’s bottle is a popular choice due to the fact that it keeps your water cool throughout the day - in fact for up to 24 hours - thanks to its double-walled vacuum insulation. Although you’re unlikely to use it for school, it can also keep drinks hot for twelve hours too. The bottle can hold up to 500m, is BPA free and comes with an airtight screw lid so you don’t need to worry about any spillages in their bag. Don’t put it in the dishwasher though, it needs to be hand washed in soapy water.

Other things to consider when returning to school

Chicken pox vaccine

Price on writing: £150 for full dose | Buy now from Boots

Has your child had chickenpox? A common virus that can quickly spread around classrooms, it is easily identifiable by the itchy, blister-like rash that first appears on your chest, back and face and then spreads across your body. If your child gets it, they will have to take time off school until their spots have crusted over, which can take around five days after they appear. Generally, once you’ve had chickenpox you build up an immunity to it.

It can affect all ages but is most common in childhood and some people, such as pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, have a higher risk of complications. While it’s not available on the NHS alongside other immunisations, Boots offers a private service in which you can pay for your child to have the chickenpox vaccine. A full course requires two vaccinations, which costs £150.

Meningitis B vaccine

Price on writing: £220 for full dose | Buy now from Boots

Meningitis is a serious infection which is more common in younger children, teenagers and young adults. It is usually caused by a virus or bacteria. The NHS started vaccinating young children against the most common type, MenB, in September 2015 for babies born on or after 1st July 2015. 

If your child hasn’t been vaccinated and you want to protect them from this illness, which causes the lining of the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed, Boots offer a vaccination service which costs £220 for two doses.

Read next: Choosing a secondary school, a guide for parents

Allergy alert bracelet

If your child suffers from an allergy, you may want to consider getting an allergy bracelet. These pieces of jewellery are worn around the wrist or neck and let people know that you suffer from an allergy in case you suffer from a reaction. 

EMTs and paramedics are trained to look for this medical identification and can help speed up the treatment process and lower the chance of misdiagnosis. It may also give you peace of mind when your child is not with you.

Emergency contact card

This is a card that can be placed in their bag or wallet to ensure you are contacted without delay in case of an emergency. The card can be easily made yourself, detailing your child’s name and your contact details should anything happen. 

If your child has any medical conditions, you may also want to include their medical history, any allergies or conditions they have and medication they take.

About Boots

Boots. With you, for life.

Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer. For over 170 years, we’ve listened, learned and innovated, and continue to challenge ourselves to improve our products and services every day. With 2,200 stores ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores, our purpose is to support our customers and patients through every stage of their lives. We put our customers in control of their health and wellbeing and aim to unlock the beauty in everyone with our unrivalled depth and breadth of product offering.

About the author

Gemma Wilcock is a freelance writer and copywriter. She grew up in the North-East of England but has lived in and around London for almost 20 years now. At Mumsnet, she creates content providing useful parenting advice, information and top products to make life easier – as a mother of two children herself, Gemma knows how important it is to get the right advice.