At age three at the local community center classes start posting signs indicating that the parents are supposed to wait outside. Fair enough, you’d think, but when you’re being vigilant about food allergies and your child isn’t in preschool or daycare this could very well be their first time away from the protective care of a parent. In anticipation of that situation I started researching medical alert bracelets and wristbands. Even if there’s meant to be no food present, I knew from experience that you can’t control when a teacher decides to bring treats instead of stickers or when a student forces a snack on your child (both have happened to us already but I intervened in the former situation and my daughter said “no” in the latter). With that in mind, I started following Allerbling on facebook (thanks to the referral of Elizabeth Goldenberg at Onespot Allergy) and was lucky enough to win two Allerbling contests before the holidays! In one contest I won two charms of my choice (I chose the sesame and corn allergy charms) with a small wristband and in the other I won the starter kit ($18) that comes with two bands and eight charms.
These don’t cover every single one of E’s allergies but it is a huge start. I took pictures with different combinations of her two bands showing, each band has 4 charms denoting her allergies plus a medical alert charm. I used a yoga mat as a background and now they look like product photos but they’re really the ones we have. A caveat: they are hard to get into the band, it is not advisable to be trying to get the bracelets set up while an impatient 3 year old is asking when she can wear her “food allergy bracelets” as she calls them. I think they’re in their respective spots to stay! I prepared her for the idea of the wristbands by showing her the video on this page, she liked Kyle Dine’s “Stop, Please Don’t Feed Me” (it plays in the background of the video, which made me cry the first time I heard it, actually) so much I also purchased the song (amazon affiliate link). I want teachers to see them and remember not to give E food or anything of the sort and between talking to her about the song and having her wear the wristband, we’re in good shape. I never seek to alarm her in this arena but having the pictures to reference has been a help to her.
At first she fidgeted with them but she’ll wear them for an hour or two at a time now. The charms are nicely detailed and don’t look like they’ll suffer from too much wear. I use the small size bands for her little wrists and they’re just right for now. If you have any questions, please let me know. I know my biggest debate when I was shopping for medical alert bands was the cost – but seeing that my daughter wears them and they are very noticeable I feel they’d be worth the cost though the extra charms I needed would cost $6 each. Other bands I considered were from Lauren’s Hope and Road ID. As she grows they may be a good fit for her as well but for really little ones I think that Allerbling’s approach communicates with the pre- or early reading wearer as much as with those around him or her.
Note: The brochure I received with the charms and bands implored me to share charms that were not of use to us and since I received everything for free as a result of the contest (they didn’t ask me to write anything about it, I just wanted to share my experience) I will gladly mail the shellfish and fish allergy charms to a reader in the United States or Canada that needs the charms. So let me know, I put them into the packaging that the corn and sesame allergy charms came in but they actually were a part of the starter kit. First come, first served. We are a veg family as you may know so my hope is that you don’t eat shellfish or fish anyway but if you need these charms, comment below. First come, first served before a month from now. If I have no takers I’ll be able to find a way to get the charms back to the company or something.