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The Most Important Purchase I Ever Made

The first day of preschool. It’s typically a day filled with miniature backpacks that somehow still look gigantic, little baby-tooth grins, brand new lunchboxes, and some bittersweet tears. It’s a day when parents collectively wonder how our babies, who were clearly just born last month, are somehow (and suddenly) big enough to walk into an actual elementary school and wave goodbye to us. 


For my little family, however, it was a day I both longed for and dreaded. My son, Will, then just three years old and one year into his autism diagnosis, was going to get intensive, professional support and therapy in his specialized pre-k program, which he desperately needed. Yet despite knowing how important and invaluable this program was, “nervous” does not begin to cover my emotions about handing my little boy over to what felt like a bunch of strangers. What if he wandered off? The idea of my nonverbal toddler, who neither said nor answered to his name, possibly straying from his class gripped me with a paralyzing fear. The very idea kept me up at night. He needed this help, but sending him to school was terrifying to me.

Finding A Solution

I started labeling everything Will was going to take to school. I went completely overboard in my desperate attempts to both protect my son and calm my fears. I ordered custom vinyl labels for his cups, backpack, lunchbox, shoes, you name it. Every single thing was branded with his name and two emergency phone numbers. But stickers on his lunchbox were certainly not going to help if he wandered. I needed something more. 


I started researching different types of ID bands so there would be at least one form of identification that was not dependent on him carrying something. My Google searches led me to realize that a medical alert bracelet would suit our needs perfectly. 


The idea of getting Will a medical ID had simply never occurred to me. I thought of medical alert bracelets as things that adults with serious illnesses wore. As I shopped around the internet and found a lot of big, bulky bracelets more suited for full-grown men than toddlers, I worried there might not be one that would work for us. There were necklaces too, but I was sure Will would take those off and lose them quickly.


I found an online shop that sold some kid-appropriate custom-engraved medical ID bracelets and ordered one for Will. I thought this would give me some peace of mind. And it did…for about a week. But then Will’s bracelet broke, and I got no support from the company I’d purchased from. So I tried another brand. And another. I had the same disappointing experience over and over again. I just could not believe how hard it was to find a quality kids’ medical ID. And then I found Lauren’s Hope


Lauren’s Hope had a lot of med IDs to choose from, including a big, fun selection for little boys. I ordered Will a black beaded bracelet with these little silver accent beads. It was boyish and cute and looked well made. And much to my surprise, Will loved it! In fact, he loved it a little too much...he chewed those cute silver beads into little bead pancakes!


Someone Actually Listened

Given my recent experiences, my expectations were low when I called Lauren’s Hope to order a replacement for Will’s beloved bracelet. Much to my surprise, though, the customer service rep told me I didn’t have to order anything: Will’s bracelet was under warranty. All I had to do was mail it in, and they would fix it for free. 


This was enough to make me a customer for life. But then, the Lauren’s Hope rep went above and beyond, explaining that Lauren’s Hope handcrafts their beaded jewelry on site. She asked if I wouldn’t mind sharing a little more about Will, as the company was happy to custom-craft the bracelet to suit Will’s needs.


So we talked. And she listened. And within a week, Will had a brand-spanking-new bracelet, handmade just for him with all black beads (no more of the silver ones he liked to chew!) and double the internal wire for extra strength. We had that bracelet for a long time. And when it was time to replace it? You bet I went back to Lauren’s Hope.


The Best Purchase of My Life

Any time Will needed a new bracelet or ID tag, I called Lauren’s Hope. I got to know some of the lovely people on their small, tight-knit team. Over time I went from customer to blog-interviewee to freelance marketer. Finally, in 2013, I moved my family to Kansas City to join the Lauren’s Hope team full time. 


Today, I’m the Executive Vice President of Lauren’s Hope, having been part of the team for more than a decade. I love our mission, our team, and our impact. I love our customers, and of course I have a special place in my heart for other special-needs parents trying to protect their kids. I feel so fortunate to be able to use my daily energies to pay forward the immeasurable kindness shown to me when I was a Lauren’s Hope customer. My work takes me full circle on a daily basis, and I am so grateful to be able to do it. 


Some Helpful Tips

When parents contact Lauren’s Hope for the first time, they tend to have three basic questions about medical IDs for kids:


  1. Does my child really need a medical ID? In short, if you’re asking, then the answer is yes. If your child has an allergy or medical condition that could either cause an emergency (EG: seizure disorder) or be made worse by medical treatment (EG: being given a medication s/he’s allergic to), your child needs a medical ID. Even verbal, neurotypical children who understand their conditions need medical IDs simply because children do not carry identification. Kids are likely to panic or clam up in an emergency, leaving them unable to recall parents’ phone numbers, their medication information, and other vital information.


  1. What kind of medical ID is right for my kid? The best med ID for your child is one s/he will actually wear. Does your child have sensory issues? Does he chew shirtsleeves? Does she fidget? Think through your child’s particular needs and work from there. For special-needs kiddos, I highly recommend our stainless steel IDs. These are hypoallergenic, waterproof, durable bracelets kids can wear 24/7, so you don’t have to remember to put them on and take them off daily. 


  1. What should I engrave on my child’s medical ID? Medical ID engravings are specific to the individual, of course, but generally, the format is pretty standard:

  2. Full name

  3. Medical condition(s)

  4. Allergies (food + drug)

  5. Treatment considerations / restrictions 

  6. Emergency contact number #1

  7. Emergency contact number #2


Here’s an example:

CHRIS TANNER

AUTISM - NONVERBAL

EPILEPSY | 911 + MEDS

FOR SEIZURE 2+ MIN

MOM: 555-555-5555

DAD: 555-555-5556


To order your child’s medical ID, please visit us at https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=561791&u=4071577&m=51477&urllink=&afftrack=

 All purchases made through this link support the outstanding work of our friends at The Autism Society of Florida.


Author Bio:

Tara Cohen is the Executive Vice President for Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry



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