What to Do When Your Child Won't Wear a Medic-Alert Bracelet

Patient Expert

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.

I'd love to hear from you if you have other ideas to help families facing this problem. Hope this helps!