Does your dog wear more ID than your child? Yet everyone knows that a Medic-Alert bracelet can save the life of a child with diabetes, especially one who has lost consciousness and cannot speak. Rescue personnel are trained to search for medical ID as they assess a patient – especially a child who is not with his or her parents. But what do you do if your child refuses to wear a Medic-Alert bracelet? Maybe your child’s skin is sensitive to the metal; or she doesn’t like the look of it; or it gets hot in the sun when he’s on the football field … or any number of other reasons for not wanting to wear it. I have two suggestions:
First, try an alternative to the standard Medic-Alert bracelet. For some kids, a neoprene version may do the trick – imprinted with cool designs, they’re soft on skin and dry quickly when wet, since they’re made from the same spongy stuff as wetsuits. There’s a Medic-Alert logo on them, with the vital information tucked inside a little pocket. Take a look at the SportKids neoprene ID bracelets at www.fifty50pharmacy.com, in designs for both boys and girls, and in sizes for both kids and toddlers. They’re about $10 each.
Also, for kids concerned with fashion, try beaded ID bracelets that don’t look like Medic-Alert bracelets. The ones I like best are at www.laurenshope.com, even though they’re more expensive (they range from $40-$80). Most of the designs are pretty feminine, but there are a few braided leather and cotton ones that would be fine for a boy. Lauren’s Hope was started when Lauren Phillips, a 16-year old girl with Type I, didn’t want to wear a Medic-Alert bracelet because “it’s ugly and it draws attention to my illness.” Her mom set out to find a company that would make a “fashion-forward” Medic-Alert bracelet so that Lauren’s jewelry would not look different from her friends’. Lauren’s Hope has donated $40,000 in profits to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to date. (For a cheaper alternative but less selection, try www.fifty50pharmacy.com for beaded bracelets that cost less than $20.)
Secondly, if a bracelet is just out of the question, there are other body parts on which to put an ID! Military-type stainless steel dog tags with a medical symbol are available at www.id-ideas.com, with a neck chain, for less than $10. Or try attaching the information to your child’s sneaker or other lace-up shoe. I run regularly, and attach my ID information (even though I don’t have diabetes) to my shoe, in case I get hit by a truck while out on a jog. It’s a laminated tag that snaps to your shoe laces, and inside you write your contact information and medical issues – asthma, diabetes, blood type, etc -- in permanent marker. You can buy one for $3 or a baker’s dozen with a sharpie marker for about $27 from www.smartidtag.com. I’d get the baker’s dozen so you have a supply for all the various sneakers, cleats, and school shoes in your house.