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Food Allergy Clothing

Allergy Alert T-Shirts, Labels, and Apparel for Young Children

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Updated June 25, 2008

Allergy alert clothing and labels are of particular use for children who may be in situations where they could be offered food by individuals who may not know the extent of their allergies. These situations might include:

  • playgroups
  • extended family gatherings
  • preschool or daycare (especially where a substitute teacher is in charge of the classroom)
  • gatherings at houses of worship
Young children are likely to get best use of these sorts of products, as they are least able to articulate their dietary restrictions themselves.

There are several options for parents considering buying allergy alert apparel, from online marketplaces like CafePress (try entering "allergy" in the site's search box to see what's new) to allergy alert clothing companies to do-it-yourself. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Some allergy alert clothing may mention a specific allergen and have messaging that instructs adults not feed your child that food, while others indicate that your child has severe food allergies and that she should not be fed before checking with you. Whichever type of alert you prefer is fine, but do remember that some allergens are frequently hidden ingredients in processed food. Wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, and peanuts are among the common allergens that are found in a variety of unlikely foods.
  • If a child with severe allergies will be watched by an alternate caregiver regularly, whether a babysitter or a school worker, consider jotting notes with signs of a severe reaction and emergency instructions on the child. You can stow them in a small waterproof pouch (along with the child's epinephrine) that clips on a belt loop or is sewn inside a coat or jacket pocket. One company, Check my Tag, offers shirts and dresses with a place to write this information on an inner tag, along with an allergy alert notice on the shoulder.
  • Labels are a good option to help prevent sharing of lunchbox food or accidental mix-ups of bottles, sippy cups, and other preschooler essentials. The best labels for this purpose are high-contrast for easy reading, dishwasher- and/or microwave-safe, and extremely durable.

  • Are you the crafty sort? Try making your own printable iron-on transfers to make custom alert shirts, backpacks, or whatever you'd like with the graphics and text of your choosing.

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