How to Convince a Child to Wear a Medical ID

Parent speaking to child about medical id alternatives

A big worry for all parents is that their child might experience an emergency when they are not there to help. This can feel magnified as a parent to a child with a chronic medical condition, developmental delays, or communication differences. A great step you can take to ease these worries is to have your child wear a medical ID.

But how do you explain a medical ID to your child? It can be hard to explain the reasoning behind wearing one.  And you may worry that talking about possible medical emergencies could be scary. What if they refuse to wear it? 

There are some simple ways you can work together with your child to overcome these concerns.  And, thankfully with many options out there to choose from, you can find the right medical ID for your child’s needs. 

When considering these options, it’s important to choose a reputable and established medical ID provider like MedicAlert. A medical ID from MedicAlert offers peace of mind by acting as an important source of information on your child’s condition for medical responders. Even though you can’t be there 24/7, MedicAlert can be your voice on behalf of your child. With the option of membership in MedicAlert’s Protection Plan, you can add an even greater level of reassurance that first responders will have all the details they need to care for your child with access to a digital health profile and a 24/7 Emergency Response Team. This plan can also include 24/7 emergency contact notification so that you can be by your child’s side quickly.

How do I talk to my child about wearing a medical ID?

Sometimes it can feel intimidating to have a serious conversation with your child. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming– there are ways to approach a topic like wearing a medical ID with any child.

One important thing to consider when talking to a child about a medical condition is the child’s developmental level. It is recommended to use simple explanations, play, and stories to explain these topics to children under age 7. School-aged children (ages 7-12) can better understand more detailed explanations.

These are some easy approaches you can take to help your child with the idea of wearing a medical ID:

  • Inspire them by wearing your own medical ID. You may benefit from having a medical ID yourself, and this makes a great conversation starter. Even if you don’t have a condition that calls for one, wearing a medical ID can model using one to your child and encourage them to copy the practice.
  • Model medical ID use with a stuffed animal. Create a story of how their favorite stuffed animal shares the same health condition they have and needs to wear a medical ID. Or you could introduce a new “friend” that wears a medical ID and tell the story of what it is, and why they wear it.  The natural next step is asking your child if they would like a medical ID just like Teddy.
  • Talk to them about the potential challenges and emergencies that can happen because of their condition. If your child is old enough, you can explain some of the problems that can happen due to their diagnosis. Let them know that in an emergency, a medical ID shares details they might forget or have trouble talking about. Knowing that paramedics, nurses, and doctors can use the information on the medical ID to take the best care of them in an emergency may encourage them to adopt its use.
  • Get their doctor, school nurse, or teacher into the conversation to help build up the importance of wearing a medical ID. Other respected and trusted adults can lend strength to the conversation. Sometimes children are more likely to listen to a teacher or their pediatrician during a visit about the importance of a behavior. You can then reinforce that advice to your child.

Shop for a medical ID together. Older children especially may enjoy being involved in the process of choosing their own style of medical ID. You can look at all the choices available from MedicAlert here.

What health conditions would require my child to wear a medical ID?

Any chronic medical condition is a reason to have your child wear a medical ID, but this can be especially beneficial in these situations:

  • Autism– The National Autism Association estimates that nearly half of autistic children will wander. If your child should wander and is found, he or she may not be able to communicate their name or how to contact you, but a medical ID can. MedicAlert’s Protection Plans with 24/7 wandering support also help ensure a safe return by working with local authorities.
  • Allergies– allergic reactions can lead to serious consequences like anaphylaxis, where every second counts. Emergency personnel must have a quick understanding of your child’s allergy history and the need for an epi-pen injection to counter any reactions quickly.
  • Asthma– according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 6 children with asthma visit the emergency room every year, and 1 in 20 are hospitalized. In addition to the benefits of wearing a medical ID, you can choose a MedicAlert Protection Plan that offers a comprehensive asthma action plan to manage your child’s asthma better.
  • Diabetes– if your child’s blood sugar is too high or too low, and they experience symptoms that lead to an emergency, it’s critical that any medical providers are aware of your child’s diabetes.
  • Epilepsy or seizure disorders– a medical ID can provide information on medications that your child typically uses for breakthrough seizure activity and alert medical providers to the type of seizure disorder. And with MedicAlert, if anything changes about your child’s treatment, the updated info is available to first responders who call the number on the ID.
  • Heart conditions– because these are not common in children, it’s important that any special health care needs related to a heart condition are communicated to healthcare providers in an emergency.
  • Thyroid conditions– symptoms of thyroid problems can mimic many other health problems, so alerting providers to an existing thyroid problem can lead to the best treatment in an emergency.
  • Cancer– there are many details that are helpful for medical providers to understand about your child if they have this diagnosis. Do they have a port-a-cath? What kind of chemotherapy are they receiving and are they immunocompromised?

In any of these situations, membership in a MedicAlert Protection Plan gives you several benefits in an emergency. No matter when an emergency happens, a MedicAlert protection plan offers 24/7 assistance and is your voice when you can’t be there to speak for your child. And because MedicAlert has been protecting and saving lives for 65 years, you can trust that your child is getting the most experienced medical ID services.

This includes a digital health profile with your child’s medical history including health conditions, medications, surgical history, vaccinations, and more. This can be shared with providers by MedicAlert’s emergency response team. This means a health record is available for review anytime, anywhere. You can even print out a patient health profile that you can bring with you to medical appointments.

And finally, don’t forget that wandering support and missing person support services are also available 24/7 for further peace of mind.

How do I help my child select a MedicAlert ID?

Kids love collaborating on buying personal items for themselves. With so many medical ID styles to choose from, shopping together is a great chance to give them a sense of control and self-expression. In turn, this encourages them to always wear their ID. You’ll also need to choose something comfortable and durable enough to be worn 24/7. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Choose the best style- From bracelets to necklaces to shoe accessories, you have multiple styles to choose from. MedicAlert even offers Smart IDs and IDs for sports. This gives you plenty of flexibility for your child’s specific activities and lifestyle. For example, a waterproof sport ID can be great for sports like swimming.

  • Sensory challenges require creativity- if wearing a bracelet or necklace is going to prove difficult for your child, there are other options. Shoe accessories can go right on laces, or a seat belt holder can be used on a backpack, bicycle, and more. MedicAlert’s Smart IDs are also a good choice for children who might not want to wear an accessory.

  • Multiple materials mean multiple occasions- you can choose between stainless steel, sterling silver, silicone, 14k gold, and more. For younger kids, fun and colorful PVC bands might be the most appealing choice. Older kids might prefer a more neutral style. You can even buy multiple IDs for different occasions, and to be sure that you always have one on hand for the inevitable times your child will lose or misplace one.

You can shop all of MedicAlert’s IDs for kids here.

What should be engraved on a MedicAlert ID?

With a MedicAlert ID, all engraving is always free and you can choose custom information for your child.

Your custom engraving should include:

  • Medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Implanted devices
  • Any other important medical information 

Once you’ve completed the process of choosing a medical ID with your child and customizing it, your child will be protected by MedicAlert’s globally recognized symbol for medical emergencies. With over 4 million lives saved, you can feel confident that your child’s new medical ID will be your voice when you can’t be with your child.