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medic alert bracelets for toddlers?

22 replies [Last post]
By Mir on Sun, 02-18-01, 20:53

(I swear, I'm gonna stop posting so many questions soon... if you all weren't so darned helpful, I wouldn't even be doing it now!) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

I asked the allergist's nurse (I forgot to ask him, and it was on our way out) if I should get Isaac a medic alert bracelet. She said that they generally don't recommend them until children are school aged and away from the parents a fair amount. She said "you're with him all the time right now, right?" And that answer satisfied me for most of the drive home... until I got to thinking about what if he has a reaction when with a babysitter (and she's well-informed but melts down in crisis and forgets to tell the paramedics or whatever)... or if he somehow ends up having a problem when I'm not right there. (My poor husband already thinks I'm completely loony over this... I decided NOT to share with him my morbid fantasy of a plane crash where we're killed but Isaac survives and ends up covered in little packets of peanuts....) (It's okay, go ahead and laugh!)

So, yay or nay? Does he need one? Do they make bracelets little enough for 1-year-olds?


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By Gennie on Sun, 02-18-01, 21:43

I put a medic alert necklace on my toddler. He broke the cheap chains several times so I used a leather lace instead. Jewelry stores, I am sure will have a sturdier chain. He learned to wear it always. Just like a car seat, they can and will get used to it. Besides an added bonus is the believability factor. People believe the medic alert over the parent even though it is the parent who orders the medic alert. Never underestimate the stupidity of people by having your toddler wear the necklace! In addition to that toddlers may not be able to communicate their condition so may need to wear it even more so than adults. Gennie

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By Sandra Y on Sun, 02-18-01, 23:32

I lost my non-verbal toddler in a children's museum for five minutes, and spent the whole 5 minutes imagining some kind-hearted person finding him and comforting him with a cookie. I think they need the Medic-Alert MORE when they are not yet verbal.

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By maddiesmom on Mon, 02-19-01, 00:46

I really recommend calling MedicAlert and looking into getting a bracelet. Our allergist made a good point about WHY I should get our 2 year old one. I stay home with her and she is pretty much with me at all times so I wasn't sure if I should wait until she was older to order one. He told me that if I was ever in a car accident and was unconscious someone might feed Madeline (our daughter) something to calm her down. He said that frequently ambulance workers carry peanut butter crackers on board their amubulance and we certainly wouldn't want anyone to feed her ANYTHING when I can't tell or if she can't tell them what she can/cannot eat. First responders and EMT's are trained to LOOK for medic alert bracelets so it would catch their eye before they feed her. Good point, huh???

Also, our daughter is now 2 1/2 and has been wearing her bracelet since she was 18 months old. She doesn't ever try to get it off, she just thinks it is part of her. We bathe in it, play in it, etc. It never comes off. It has taught her to tell people what it says. She will tell strangers in the grocery store, "Look, my bracelet. It says No Peanuts No Nuts" . People think it is so cute that she says it, but I am just so proud that she tells everyone. She is learning at such a young age to show people and let them know quickly that she is allergic.

I could go on and on. I SOOOO recommend getting your toddler a bracelet. It has been wonderful to have and makes me feel a little better that it catches peoples eye and makes them aware of her allergies. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Good luck!
Shandra (mom to Madeline 2 1/2)

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By AmyR on Tue, 02-20-01, 13:55

Mir, I agree with what the others said. We got my son a medicalert bracelet a few months ago, just before turning three. He wasn't too psyched about it for the first few minutes but we really talked it up and made it sound so exciting to wear. He has it on him at all times and never even thinks about taking it off. I'm so glad he has one at this age because it has just become a part of him. I think if I waited till he was older, he'd complain about wearing it.

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By MJ's Mom on Tue, 02-20-01, 17:10

Hi Mir! Just wanted to agree with the above, and add that I've heard that emergency personnel/hospital personnel tend to take you more seriously/respond more quickly when they see and read the medic-alert bracelet, saving precious minutes.

My two year old was initially a bit annoyed by his bracelet. We responded by saying "Where's your bracelet? There it is!! YEAH!!!" and clapping our hands...he would clap too, and laugh. Soon he had a positive association with the bracelet. Now it's just a part of him that he never seems to notice. They are easy to order, and they come in the mail pretty quickly (less than a week for ours). Good luck!

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By MattsMom on Tue, 02-20-01, 17:37

Matt is 2, and has a MedicAlert bracelet that never comes off. We wanted one for all the same reasons...car accidents, lost child, with a babysitter, getting him used to it BEFORE the age where bracelets are uncool, and to get people to take his allergy more seriously...namely, my family.

I also have a 3yo daughter (not PA) and when the MedicAlert bracelet came in, she helped me get Matt interested in it. I had told them a few days previous that Matt would be getting a special bracelet in the mail and when he did, we would take Meagan to the store and get her a bracelet. Meagan was very excited about it, and it rubbed off eventually. =) Now they both have a bracelet that stays on 24/7.

And to answer your question about bracelet size... when we called MedicAlert to order it they told us to get a bit of ribbon or string, wrap it around his wrist, mark it, and then measure it. His wrist was 4". A few days later we had a tiny little bracelet in our mailbox. =) It is big enough that the emblem flips around very easily, but tight enough that it won't go over his hand and come off. We were told that if it was able to come off over the hand, if we took it to a jewelry shop, they could take a link or two (or whatever was necessary) out for us.

Now that the kids have had their bracelet for a month, they rarely even notice them...except when we go out. Then they are showing anybody and everybody their bracelets and telling them that Matt's came in the mail and says "No nuts for Matt!" and Meagan's came from the store. lol

Sadly, though, it hasn't helped with my parents view on the allergy. They still think we're overreacting and that the best way for him to outgrow the allergy would be to continue to eat peanuts and pb in mass quantities!! He won't be spending the night w/ them any time soon, that's for sure! It has helped with friends and strangers, though. They almost immediately ask questions (and we then educate!) and they take his allergy MUCH more serious now.

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By on Tue, 02-20-01, 21:29


I also strongly recommend a MedicAlert bracelet for your toddler. I know for a fact the medical personal/paramedics read them as I was standing right there when they read my son's. The paramedics read it the minute they walked into the room and the ER doctor read it when they were putting my son on the ER bed.

You can contact MedicAlert via the web at [url="http://www.medicalert.org"]www.medicalert.org[/url] and I believe soon, if not already, members can log in and update their medical history, update doctors and pharmacies via their website.

The MedicAlert bracelet speaks for itself. It's also true as MJ's mom pointed out...people take you more seriously about the allergy. They think if the *condition* is serious enough to warrant a MedicAlert bracelet, then it must be really serious.

The nurse at my son't school, when we first talked over the phone was kind of casual and then she asked me if my son had a MedicAlert bracelet and with the tone she was using, she was expecting me to say no. When I said yes, her whole demeanor changed immediately!

Stay Safe.

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By on Tue, 02-20-01, 22:18

There is a very good and a very long thread on MedicAlert bracelets under Living With A Peanut Allergy. I am not sure how many pages back it is.

I agree about getting a bracelet for all the reasons above but it broke my heart when my husband came home from work the day it arrived and my son said, "Look, Daddy, I can't take this off until I go to Heaven." I burst into tears!

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By blackmoss on Wed, 02-21-01, 12:21

I know at some point I need to get something a bracelet/whatever for Stephen. However, at the moment I have a six month old and everything goes into his mouth. At what age what you get one?? I have all his info on my key chain and in wallet and on and in his diaper bag. I am not too worried about someone feeding him (but I am beginning to as now everywhere we go eat the host/hostess always offers us a child's menu) I always have a bottle ready since he's not on a regular formula. Any suggestions?

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By Mir on Wed, 02-21-01, 13:02

Thank you all for your input! I called MedicAlert last night and ordered Isaac's bracelet. The lady told me they were going to put "Anaphylaxis to peanuts" on it and I agreed and then when I got off the phone I thought OH NO what if a layperson reads that and doesn't know what anaphylaxis means?? My husband immediately started making fun of me ("Hmmmm, anaphylaxis to peanuts? That must mean he really likes them! Here ya go!" LOL). But I guess in the makes-people-take-it-seriously vein that was probably the right thing to put on there.

I told the lady on the phone that Isaac's only 13 months and she said that he'll probably fiddle with it for a couple of days and then forget that it's there. She also told me that they'll replace the chain for any reason free of charge for 5 years. So I guess we just put it on and hope for the best. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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By Cayley's Mom on Wed, 02-21-01, 15:19

Naomi - That is so precious, what your son said, and so heartbreaking. I so wish there was a cure for PA....

blackmoss - MedicAlert has a website, so perhaps they could advise you on the best age to acquire a bracelet for your son. I have a 10 month (not PA, I hope) and I agree, she'd be chewing on it all day. Once he's the "proper" age (whatever that is), just order the smallest bracelet and get a jeweller to remove enough links that he can't slip it off.

Also, I received an updated brochure last week from MedicAlert and they do not advise using the necklets/necklaces on children under the age of 12 - they pose a risk of strangulation. In Canada long strings, especially those found in hoods, have been banned on children's clothing. Are they banned in the U.S. also (due to the strangulation risk)?

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By Heather on Wed, 02-21-01, 18:48

I got my son a MedicAlert bracelet when he was about 16 or 17 mos. I got it for all the reasons everyone else mentioned (lost child, car accident, etc.) but also to remind relatives of his allergy (they forget sometimes). I'm glad I got it when I did because he hardly noticed it when I put it on him, now that he's 2, he notices everything more. I think now I'd have a hard time introducing something like that now. We have the book Allie the Allergic Elephant and whenever we take the book out, he points to his bracelet and points to Alli's bracelet. Here in Massachusetts (US) we have labels for the car seats that have emergency information on them. I wrote in red marker all over mine that my son is allergic to peanuts/tree nuts. That way, if I am in an accident, the police will at least have another sign telling them of his allergy.

[This message has been edited by Heather (edited February 21, 2001).]

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By on Wed, 02-21-01, 21:35


We have on my son's MedicAlert Bracelet *Anaphylactic Reaction to Peanuts* --*Allergic Sulfa* and I intentionally wanted Anaphylactic on the bracelet. The intent on this bracelet is for *Medics* and they know the meaning of the word. If someone other than you calls 911 and they read what is on the MedicAlert bracelet to the 911 Operator, the medical personnel responding will be more in the *know* of what is happening to your child.

Some people on the boards have *Life Threatening Allergy to Peanuts* and this is another great description to use on the MedicAlert bracelet. Either one--You want something that is going to *grab* attention to the seriousness of this allergy.

Stay Safe.

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By Evan's Mom on Wed, 02-21-01, 22:07

We got my son's medic alert bracelet when he was almost two for all of the reasons stated above. His says, "Anaphylaxis to peanut products. Allergic to amoxicillin." I think I just told them what his history was and they put the wording on. I've noticed that older people and people who work in the medical field tend to notice it. Every time we are in a doctor's office or hospital, every person who deals with my son will at some point grab his wrist and turn the bracelet over to see what it says. Deanna (formerly DMB)

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By mom2two on Wed, 02-21-01, 22:11

i think i am in a minority of one on these boards but i do not havea medic-alert yet for my 5 year old dd. She is extremely self concsiouce already about her PA and the differences she has from other kids (not just the PA ones) that she would be devastated if she were forced to wear one. She is either with us or her teachers at all times (or her scout leaders) and all of us have her epi-pens, background on her allergy, etc.
I know noone else here feels the way I do about this issue but when she is older I will revisit the issue.

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By MattsMom on Thu, 02-22-01, 00:09

Mir- At the moment Matt's bracelet says "Life Threatening Allergy to Peanuts/Nuts, Carries Epipen Jr." A week after we ordered it, we discovered he is allergic to amoxicillin. Now we're also questioning latex. Once we figure out whether or not he's allergic to the latex his new bracelet will say "Life Threatening Allergy to Peanuts/Nuts, Allergic to Latex and Amoxicillin" or "Life Threatening Allergy to Peanuts/Nuts, Allergic to Amoxicillin".

I chose the Life Threatening over the Anaphylaxis because even though the MAIN purpose of the bracelet is to alert the medics and drs, other people will be reading it to, and I wanted the wording something that ANYBODY could understand.

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By maddiesmom on Thu, 02-22-01, 00:17

MIR- I am so glad you ordered a bracelet! Hope you didn't think we were too "pushy" about getting one! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] My suggestion for putting it on is what our Allergist told us. Try to put it on him while he is sleeping. That way he doesn't SEE you put it on, and he won't know how to try to get it off. Also, when he wakes up, make a big deal about it and if you have one, wear a bracelet for the next week or two. Ask him "Where is your cool bracelet?" Then when he shows you, you show him your "matching" bracelet. My daughter LOVED having matching things (we put her bracelet on her when she was 18 months). It might just help the transition to wearing it. Good luck!

Shandra (mom to PA daughter Madeline 2 1/2yrs old)

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By Mir on Thu, 02-22-01, 01:05

Shandra--you all weren't pushy at all! I'm glad we ordered it, and I was glad to have a concrete reason for it (like the possibility of an EMT offering him peanut butter crackers if I was unconscious) rather than my own overblown what-ifs. And thank you for the suggestion of putting in on him asleep. I never would have thought of that but it's brilliant!

MattsMom--I think I know now why the MedicAlert lady wanted to put "Anaphylaxis to peanuts" rather than "Life-threatening allergy to peanuts." Isaac also tested for an egg allergy (although we aren't quite sure what's up with that) and the lady pointed out to me that some medications are egg-based and therefore that should be on the bracelet as well. So it will read "Anaphylaxis to peanuts/allergic to eggs" and I'm thinking that if they used "life-threatening" etc. that it wouldn't have all fit! But I agreed in the end, anyway, with my DH; even if you didn't understand "anaphylaxis" you probably wouldn't feed peanuts to someone who had a comment about it on a MedicAlert bracelet. Don't get me started thinking maybe I messed up the wording, now, I'm neurotic enough already, LOL! Depending on how this egg thing goes and whether or not he is definitively diagnosed with asthma later on (something we're watching) I figure we'll be getting him a new bracelet in a few years, anyway. Hopefully by then I'll have figured out the perfect wording! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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By MattsMom on Thu, 02-22-01, 05:16

LOL No, I did not mean to make you second-guess the wording on your son's bracelet. =) I just noticed that someone else had posted about "some parents on the board chose 'life-threatening'" and thought since I was one of them, I'd throw my 2 cents in. ;-) We may well end up having to switch to anaphylaxis with the next bracelet, if we have to put latex on there too, I'm not sure everything will fit otherwise, in which case that's ok by me too. I just personally preferred the laymen's wording. =) I mainly wanted the life-threatening because of my family and their total lack of "getting it", and it turns out that w/ my parents at least....the bracelet hasn't done a bit of good anyway. Go figure! I guess I should have expected it, since my mom is allergic to penicillin...and does not wear a MedicAlert bracelet.

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By no nuts on Thu, 02-22-01, 15:58

My child has had a medic-alert bracelet since age 12 months. It is on all the time, we literally never take it off. It took her about 5 days to get used to it. When we got it I took it to a jeweler who removed a couple links for me and was shocked at how small it was. He asked if it was for a real person. As she grew we had him put the links back in. Anyway, I got it because even though Im with my child 99% of the time, I thought, what if something happens to me...an accident, fainting or falling at the grocery store, whatever. I could just envision someone soothing this scared child with a cracker or cookie. It reads "severely allergic to peanuts and by-products carries epipen".

just had to add - I called my daughter in here to re-read her bracelet and make sure I had it exactly. I told her someone was wondering if they should get a medic alert bracelet and she said "Oh of course, and do they carry epipen?, make sure they carry epipen. And I'm availabe if they have any more questions". LOL She's 5!

[This message has been edited by no nuts (edited February 22, 2001).]

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By Mir on Thu, 02-22-01, 16:38

No Nuts, I am ROFL!!!!!! Please thank your daughter for me, let her know we're carrying our EpiPen, and tell her the check is in the mail. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] That is so cute!


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By synthia on Sat, 08-06-05, 15:18


Love this site

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