Ask the Readers {Medical Alert ID For Food Allergies}

My daughter has had her peanut, tree nut, and sesame allergies for two and a half years, last week was the first time we needed to use an epipen.

Let me start by saying that I am very grateful this is our first experience with epinephrine, or even a reaction that even came close to needing it. My daughter carries an epipen, but has been very fortunate in the fact that she has never needed to use it.

And last week we were very fortunate to be at the allergist when she did actually need one.  If you need Epinephrine, an allergy clinic with tons of doctors and medical staff, trained in allergies, is the place to be.

My daughter was has been going through some allergy testing the last few weeks, and at her appointment last week, she had a reaction. After a mega dose of benadryl, some steroids, and a shot of Epinephrine, she was fine. Well, she was a bit worn out and drugged up, but she was fine.

Going through the whole experience though, and talking to my sister whose family deals with several severe allergies, got me thinking about the seriousness of allergies.

I know the seriousness of what we are dealing with, but your child needing a shot of epinephrine, makes what you are dealing with really hit home. Reality sunk in for me last week, and I started thinking about the what if’s of dealing with life threatening allergies.

Like the what if my daughter has a reaction when I am not around, what if her reaction is so bad that she is not with it enough to know what to do, or what if no one around her knows what to do? The reality is you can read labels and be very careful about what goes into your mouth, but no matter how careful you are things can still happen.

So, I am seriously thinking of getting my daughter a medical alert bracelet or necklace to wear. The fact that she might need one, or that it might be wise to get her one, did not even cross my mind until I was talking to my sister about the whole experience. Because the whole idea is new to me, I thought I would ask you all what your thoughts were.

If you, or someone in your family, has a life threatening allergy, do you wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace? I would love to hear your thoughts on it and why you do or don’t wear one? 

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. Kursten Byrne says:

    My daughter has had a peanut allergy all her life. She is 14 and has been wearing a medical alert bracelet since she was 2. I would not let her leave home without one. In fact, during the past 12 years, she has never taken it off.

    • Thanks. Does she wear a basic one, or did you get her something more fun or cute to wear? When I was looking online I found all kinds of them and I know it needs to look like a medical alert bracelet, but many of them would be at least a little more fun to wear.

      • Kursten Byrne says:

        I let her choose which one she wanted. :) I figured that she would be more willing to wear it if she liked it.

      • I have severe nut allergies myself and also work within the healthcare field (although not a caregiver myself). I have always been told, and have heard medical practitioners tell parents to not go with the ‘cute’ medic alert bracelets and for adults to steer away from medic alerts that look too much like other jewellery. In an emergency scenario these can be missed as being medic alerts, and mistaken for regular jewellery. A bracelet or necklace that stands out a bit as ‘medic alert’ is the safest way to go.

  2. Sandy Chapin says:

    Yes, my daughter has always worn a bracelet for her food allergies. I just never wanted to take the chance that someone would not have that information if needed. She just got a new bracelet this year from a company called Road ID that comes on a silicone colored band that she loves. The bands come in many colors and you can change them out to match outfits. She loves this. Sorry to hear about your experience. We have never had to use the epi-pen so far but its always a possibility.

    • I will have to look at the Road ID ones. Thanks for letting me know about them. I would like to get my daughter one she won’t mind wearing, so we will check those out.

      • I was told by my paramedic friends to NOT use a medical alert bracelet in the form of those silicon wrist bands that are popular because so many children wear them, they do not stand out as a medical id. Best to stick to ones that look like a medical id.

        That said, a teen girl would find many options in the realm of nice stainless or sterling traditional medical id bracelets. They look nice, but have that bright red symbol on them so you know they mean business.

  3. Absolutely she should wear a Medic ID bracelet. And she should make sure she carries her Epi on her body at school. How old is she? My youngest has multiple food allergies, all with anaphylactic reactions. He is 4 years old and I have used the Epi on him 4 times before he was 3.

    • I am so thankful that this is the first time we needed an epi. She is 14 and is great about taking her purse everywhere she goes so that she had one with her at all times. I also carry one with me, so I have one as well. We homeschool so the school thing as not been an issue, but the older she gets the more places she goes without me and the more I realize how much she really needs a medical ID bracelet with her. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Hi there,

    My 5 year old son has an egg allergy and we have had some dodgy experiences this year with reactions for him that were very stressfull. He is starting school in 2 weeks here and I did order him a childs Medic Alert bracelet – they have neat ones for kids – I also ordered an extra epi pen – one for his backpack and one for the school to keep in their office. Good luck – I know how uneasy the feeling is thinking about these issues and worry for our children.


  5. Oh, Lynn…. sorry to hear about this first experience with your daughter. But, I’m happy that it happened in such a safe place.

    I have thought time and time again about getting a medical alert bracelet for myself; there are places that even sell ones for young girls that are allergy-friendly. Regardless, until then I have a note in my wallet and attached to my key chain that says my allergies, that I need an Epi pen and to call 911. That might be an intermediate step for your daughter. I’ll be interested to hear what others say.

  6. As an adult with recently developed food allergies, I have chosen to wear one, and I tell you what, after a month, I stopped even noticing it was there. I got the most basic stainless steel one from, and while it isn’t pretty, it is very lightweight and comfortable (curved emblem, and with the perfect length of chain it is loose enough to not pinch, but snug enough that it never gets caught on things either), and I never have to worry about it falling off because of its sturdy design and good clasp. I never even take it off – not to shower, sleep, or anything. I do often wear another bracelet on the same wrist, to match my outfit and “hide” the dull finish of it. But you just can’t let it be a vanity issue – it’s a simple fact of choosing to take this extra step to preserve her life, “just in case.” Plus, if she ever develops other medical conditions, the additional services MedicAlert provides are indispensable!

  7. We’ve only had one instance where we needed the epi pen and it was really frightening. Our almost 5YO wears a bracelect made by Allerbling. It’s made out of silicone, like the Livestrong bracelets, and you can customize them for your particular allergies. My only complaint with them is that there is nothing to put a phone number on, in case of an emergency. We may only use this for now, but it’s bright and cute and he likes to wear it, which is important!

  8. Sorry you had to deal with the Epi, I’ve had one bad enough for that and another time they caught me in time and gave me steroids and Benadryl. I have delayed reactions of up to 3 hours, which the allergist said are the most dangerous type, since airway closes slowly and you don’t realize how serious you are getting until it’s almost too late.
    I would skip the cute ones, since in an emergency it might look just like a bracelet and nothing important. In need to get one for myself, but I break out from a nickel allergy. So not sure what I could wear. Anyone have any ideas?

    • My daughter has allergies to some of the metals also, so I know the cheaper ones will be out for us. I think you might be able to find out more information on if they have nickel in them if you call the companies.

  9. Julie Huey says:

    Dear Lynn,

    Your gut instincts are correct. I know a medical id bracelet may sound unnecessary to others who do not have children like ours, but it’s crucial for those who have severe allergies because it is a matter of a life or death issue. My daughter refused to wear the big clunky metal medical id bracelets and it was actually hurting her at times. So, we opted for a light one. What I found most helpful has been teaching our children that other moms do not always know what’s inside the foods they offer. They may be the most caring moms in the world, but they (we) all make mistakes.

  10. I was late in developing food allergies (24 before I had first reaction). In fact, one of the shots I have to take to combat it requires that I were an alert bracelet. Like your daughter, all 3 times that I had a systemic reaction I was in the doctor’s office…so I am a little afraid if I am out in public or alone.

    I was recommended by others to go through my jeweler to get my alert bracelet. And like the other commenters have said, make sure it has the red medic sign on it to show that it’s not a regular bracelet. My bracelet is small (not the clunky ones you see usually). It is only 1/4 of an inch wide, and a little more than an inch long. The chain can be adjusted by the jeweler so it can fit big or small wrists.

    I have had mine for 8 years now, and still looks great. I do take mine off to sleep, but it is easy to take off and on. I put it back on when I put my watch on, and so always have it on in public.

    I was also told to wear it on the left wrist, since that is were paramedics will check for pulse, so they will be sure to see it. I am also left handed, so my watch is on my right wrist, so it is only my left wrist by itself.

  11. Hi :)
    I have food allergies myself (diagnosed mid 20s), and deal with allergies/sensitivies also in our household. (Just wrote a post about this this week–case you are interested I’ll link it below…)
    I have worn a bracelet-pretty, silver, picked out a nice charm-for over 5? years now.
    From being a past public school teacher, I would highly recommend that she wears some type of id–in any type of emergency, especially if her teacher is not with her, it is helpful.
    From an emergency perspective-I’ve been advised that EMTs will do a quick check for these things. I’ve been in situations where it has been hard to talk due to a reaction-and this can be held up at least.
    On mine, I’ve also included my husband’s cell #–I took it off once (I think it was just to walk down the aisle for our wedding…) or did I??
    I’ve also seen some cute kid ones recently-where a charm like picture of eat allergen can be inserted. Stylish too…
    Glad to be of any help. :)

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