The Most Important Purchase I Ever Made

Tara Cohen

By Tara Cohen

When my son, Will, was 3 years old, we were a year into his autism diagnosis and preparing to send him to a special pre-k program. Overall, this was a great transition to be making. More therapy, more support, and, I hoped, more progress. But handing a non-verbal toddler over to even the kindest and most well-trained of educators is still a petrifying feeling. I worried he might wander or get lost on the elementary school campus. That’s when I started shopping for medical ID bracelets.

I ordered medical IDs from a handful of companies online, in rapid succession, as they all broke within a week or so. When reaching out for repair or warranty support, I got absolutely no help. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find a medical ID durable enough for an active child. And then I found Lauren’s Hope, a KC-based company. They had a big selection, and I opted for an interchangeable medical ID bracelet with black beads interspersed with little silver balls. Will loved this bracelet. He loved it a little too much … because he chewed the little silver balls into little bead pancakes!

A life-changing purchase
When I called Lauren’s Hope to see about ordering a replacement, I expected very little support. To my surprise, the customer service representative told me I needn’t order anything because Will’s bracelet was under warranty. They would fix it for free. I couldn’t quite believe it. Then they went one step further.
The representative asked me, so kindly, if I wouldn’t mind telling her a little about Will and what he needed. She explained that they make their jewelry by hand, so they could make Will pretty much anything he needed and would really like to help us. So we talked. And she really listened.

Within a week, Will had a new bracelet, handmade just for him with double the wire and all little black beads (no more of the silver ones he chewed on). It lasted a long time, and when it was time for a new one, you can bet I went back to Lauren’s Hope.

Over time, I built a relationship with the people at Lauren’s Hope, first as a customer, and later as a freelance marketer. Eventually, I moved to Kansas City to join the team full time. Now, nearly four years later, I’ve had the opportunity to serve many of our fantastic customers who have children with cognitive impairments, food allergies, chronic illnesses, and other conditions. And in speaking with them, I’ve found people almost always have three basic questions about medical IDs for kids. Here’s a primer on what you need to know.

1. Does my child really need a medical ID?
Odds are, if you’re asking, the answer is yes. If your child has a condition or allergy that could cause a medical emergency or be made worse by medical treatment (for example: being treated with latex gloves if an allergy exists), then your child needs a medical ID. Children wear medical IDs for food and drug allergies, type 1 diabetes, epilepsy, special needs, and countless other diagnoses.

We also highly recommend ICE IDs for kids. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. Even for kids without medical concerns, having a child’s name along with Mom, Dad, or another trusted adult’s phone number right there at hand is a great way to help your child get home faster in case he or she gets lost.
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2. What type of medical ID is right for my child?
Interchangeable medical IDs allow you to mix and match ID tags and bracelet strands to suit your child’s mood or activity. These are particularly popular with tween and teen girls (and their moms!) who often like having a pretty “dress-up” bracelet for school or parties but then a stainless steel or paracord bracelet strand for sports and play. Boys often prefer dog tags but also really like our paracord and silicone options. Overall, though, the best ID is the one your child wants to wear. When kids are allowed to help choose their IDs, parents report that they’re much more compliant in actually wearing them.

For children under five, we recommend bracelets over necklaces. The best bet for the really little guys is our nickel-free stainless steel. It’s durable, waterproof, and we make it in fun styles kids like.

3. What do I engrave on my child’s medical ID?
Medical ID engravings vary by person but tend to follow a pretty standard format:
Full name
Medical Condition(s)
Allergies
Treatment Consideration(s)
Emergency Contact Number 1
Emergency Contact Number 2

Lauren’s Hope is a local Kansas City company that sells hand-made medical ID bracelets around the globe to more than 400,000 people. Lauren’s Hope is offering Parenting Children With Special Needs readers 15% off regularly priced items with coupon code: PCWSN15. Order online at laurenshope.com.

Tara Cohen is the Director of Marketing and eCommerce for Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry, a privately owned Kansas City retailer known for its community involvement, philanthropic activities, award-winning leadership, high quality products, and outstanding customer support. A staunch advocate for children with special needs, Tara writes and speaks publicly about her son, Will (12), who has autism, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, sensory integration dysfunction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other underlying diagnoses. Connect with Tara on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/taracohen/

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