What Is a Triangular Bandage?

A triangular bandage is commonly featured in first aid kits.
Finger bandages are included in a first aid kit.
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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2014
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There are many different kinds of bandages available for various injuries. A triangular bandage, or a covering shaped like a triangle, can be used for many of these needs. Its applications include use in arm slings, tourniquets, compression bandages, and various dressing coverings.

Considered one of the most versatile bandages, a triangular bandage is usually made out of muslin cloth. Normally white, an average first aid triangular bandage weighs about a tenth of a pound (.05 kilograms). The size of the bandages vary, typical brands run approximately 40 inches (101.6 centimeters) by 50 inches (127 inches). Sealed in plastic, it often comes with safety pins or other securing devices to keep it in place during use.

Triangular bandages are used for maintaining compressions or poultices on a head wound. They may be used for keeping body parts, such as shoulders, stationary during the healing process as well. Chest wound dressings may be kept in place with triangular bandages, too. Splinting broken bones, holding gauze in place, and stopping or preventing bleeding are other uses. Because of all of these uses and potentially more, a triangular bandage is considered a staple in most first aid kits.


An arm sling is the most popular use for a triangular bandage. In order to create a sling, the bandage can be draped down the front of the body. One end of the triangle should be brought over the uninjured shoulder, then carried behind the neck until the end is hanging in the front of the body on the injured side.

Once the bandage is behind the elbow of the injured arm, carefully bend the arm toward the center of the bandage. Once the arm is in place, bring the other triangle end up behind the neck. Tie both ends together at the end of the shoulder, creating a knot at the side of the patient's neck.

When used for knee, foot, or head injuries, a triangular bandage should only be used as a dressing covering. These injuries are typically too severe for a triangular bandage alone. Instead, they normally require more invasive bindings, such as casts.

If a triangular bandage is unavailable, a neckerchief can possibly be used. If being used as a bandage over an open wound, a neckerchief should ideally be sterilized in order to prevent infection. In an emergency, however, such a bandanna is considered preferable to no bandage at all.


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