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Allergy Tattoos: Should kids wear labels to school?

Posted by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 9:46 AM
  • 28 Replies

Allergy Tattoos: Should Kids Wear Warning Labels to School?

By | Parenting - 18 hours ago
SafetyTats stickers. Photo: SafetyTatsTemporary tattoos are not traditionally considered must-have back-to-school shopping items - but that could change. This year, some students with severe allergies are returning to class with their medical issues stamped on their skin for their own protection.

More on Shine: Ladylike Tattoos: Are They a Thing?

"Right now there's a huge awareness, whether because of going back to school or because of the recent incident in California," SafetyTat founder and mother of three Michele Welsh told Yahoo! Shine. Welsh was referring to the recent tragic death of a 13-year-old girl with a peanut allergy at a Sacramento summer camp. "Unfortunately it sometimes takes something like that for people to say, 'Wow, it really can happen.'"

More on Yahoo!: Girl Dies After Allergic Reaction to Camp Treat

Welsh created her 5-year-old company-offering products that include temporary tattoos and long-lasting, write-on skin stickers-after using a ballpoint pen to nervously scrawl her cell phone number on her kids' arms at a crowded amusement park, in case they got separated, and realizing it was maybe not the best way to go about it. 

The moment made her think of other dangers lurking for kids, and how having an actual warning label on the body could be useful to other parents, too-like her sister-in-law, who is mom to a boy with a fatal peanut allergy. "He had spent so much time in the hospital as a toddler, that his mom had begun limiting his time outside the home because she was so fearful," Welsh said. When she created the tattoos and he wore one to a school trip, the response was immediate, alerting a food server who double checked the ingredient of his salad dressing only to discover it contained peanut oil. "His mom told me, 'It's almost like I'm there with him, reminding people,'" she added.
SafetyTats
Peanut Free Zone
is another company making temporary allergy-alert tattoos. Also, AllerMates makes wristbands, stickers and dog tags that alert caregivers to allergies.

On SafetyTat's Facebook page, a Florida mom noted, "Made sure my daughter had her safety tat on as she is with 110 camp kids headed to Sea World today!!"

Another wrote, "We recently used them for the first time during our trip to New York. Our son is a toddler and has a severe peanut allergy, so having my number on him and an alert for his allergy on him is important to me."

But not everyone is a fan of the tattoo. A recent Slate article on the phenomenon of children wearing warning labels raised the issue of bullying, questioning whether the added attention would make them targets of childhood cruelty. It was a concern echoed by American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology spokesperson, allergist Kevin McGrath. "A lot of kids do get bullied at school about their food allergies, so there is some concern about whether this might give more ammunition to kids," McGrath told Yahoo! Shine. Still, he said the tattoos "may just be another thing to make parents feel more confident when sending their children off to a party or picnic or class trip." He also recommends medical-alert bracelets and having a "game plan," such as an EpiPen, in case something does happen.

The Slate article also mused that, for the tattoos to be truly successful, the current designs would need a cooler makeover.

"The solution, we think, is to make allergy tattoos look more like real tattoos," wrote L.V. Anderson. "The SafetyTat design...is easy-to-read and pragmatic, sure, but I don't know any 7-year-olds who would clamor to plaster their bodies with it. If kids are going to voluntarily wear them, allergy tattoos should be bigger and far less tasteful than SafetyTat's offerings. How about ... a very arty strawberry dripping with blood for your neck? Or a cartoon of Mr. Peanut throttling somebody? The vulgar possibilities are endless."

Welsh had heard that criticism. Joking aside, she told Yahoo! Shine, "These are mainly for younger children who can't communicate for themselves. But we do need to build some aesthetic back in there, and, for the older kids, something hipper would be great." As for the bullying concern, she noted, "If I had to choose fatal exposure over being harassed by kids, I would choose safety as my No. 1 concern."

by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 9:46 AM
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Replies (1-10):
casseopeia
by Bronze Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Why not.  My mom wears a diabetic bracelet.

masonmomma
by on Aug. 27, 2013 at 9:52 AM
I think those things are great. I bought some when they first started and used them when we went to fairs and stuff. It just had emergency contact info on them but it was comforting knowing if we got separated for whatever reason someone knew who to contact. This was when they were to young to remember the number.
terpmama
by Silver Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:01 AM

They also have those rubber bracelets (like the live strong ones) with allergy warnings

billsfan1104
by Jules on Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:10 AM
I like these. Especially when kids get lost or the parents are hurt in an accident, the responders can know what to do.
ZanderandBella
by Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Oh man, I need to get these. My son is allergic to cows milk and I was shocked at how many times people gave him milk and then we would spend a couple days of him sick and fussy.

numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:15 AM

My problem is kids bully.  The teacher should know and the school.  Not tattoo.

elkmomma
by Bronze Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 11:07 AM

I think these are great for young kids ....3rd grade and younger.  We go to the park and DS will almost always bring one of his "new" friends over and ask if they can both have a snack.  I hate having to say no because I don't know if they have a medical condition.  DS is 13 and love to help little kids on playgrounds (pushes then on the swings, helps them balance on the beams, or climb up things to the slide), but still doesn't quite get that Mom still needs to know the parents before I dole out anything. 

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

 I used to have an orange braclet for my son that stated his peanut allergy. He only wore it a few times though.

 

I have no issue with this. I don't think kids would bully over this, if anything they may be asking for one for themselves.

4music
by Bronze Member on Aug. 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM
1 mom liked this

 But in a school with hundreds or thousands of kids, how is saff supposed to remember the specifics of each off the top of their head?

Quoting numbr1wmn:

My problem is kids bully.  The teacher should know and the school.  Not tattoo.

 

I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an empereror just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd put me away!
-Dennis
numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Aug. 27, 2013 at 11:55 AM

 Maybe a tag on a bag or lunch box?


Quoting 4music:

 But in a school with hundreds or thousands of kids, how is saff supposed to remember the specifics of each off the top of their head?

Quoting numbr1wmn:

My problem is kids bully.  The teacher should know and the school.  Not tattoo.

 


 

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