If you have a history of anaphylaxis or a diagnosis of severe food allergies, you should always wear a medical ID. Always is a long time, so you should like that bracelet or necklace you will be wearing every day. The finalists for Best Medical ID have gone beyond bracelets you are willing to wear to create medical ID jewelry that is not only potentially life-saving, it is something you will enjoy putting on each morning.
In order, the finalists and winner of the Best Medical ID Jewelry of 2012 are (drum roll, please):
In fifth place is Allermates, silicone jelly bracelets with fun designs. Children can customize a multi-allergen bracelet, with button-on allergen characters. Even very young children who can not read can use the images as reminders of their food allergy and the need to be careful of the food they accept when away from home.
When Iris Shamus’s son was 10 months old he had a severe allergic reaction to a cashew. Her desire to help her son know and remember his food allergy without living life in fear led her to create the AllerMates wrist bands. AllerMates are colorful, silicone wrist bands for kids with illustrated characters that represent major allergens.
4. Oneida Medical Jewelry
In fourth place, Oneida Medical Jewelry has been making medical ID products for 49 years. Oneida offers everything from classic stainless wrist bands to beaded jewelry and kid's shoe tags, with free engraving on all pieces. They also offer a line of Black Hills gold jewelry, as well as Pandora-style beaded bracelets.
Oneida ID tags can be engraved on both sides, allowing the wearer to fit multiple allergies or other alerts on one tag.
The third place winner, MedicAlert, was founded in 1956 and is a nonprofit emergency medical information service. MedicAlert is the only one of these companies to provide the call service that allows EMTs to access your medical profile.
MedicAlert was started by Dr. Marion Collins, who had a daughter named Linda with a life-threatening allergy. After years of wearing a paper bracelet with a note about her allergy, Linda had the idea of creating a silver bracelet with her allergy information. Her father commissioned a jeweler to create one for her, and added the words “Medic Alert” and a medical symbol to the bracelet. The Collins family went on to create a nonprofit and pioneer the concept of both the bracelet and the call service. Today over 4 million people are members of MedicAlert worldwide.
MedicAlert combines stylish, practical jewelry with its subscription call service. They offer everything from classic dog tags to leather wrist bands and fun sports bands for kids.
2. N-Style ID
In second place is N-Style ID.
When Toni Bissell’s 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, she couldn’t find medical ID bracelets cool enough for her fashion-conscious daughter Camille to wear. So Toni made her one - and then another, and another. Eventually it grew into N-Style ID.
Now N-Style ID has hundreds of stylish bangles, chains, charms, beads, jelly bands, leather straps, dog tags, and more. The sports bands with woven-in designs like horses, dolphins, tie dye and peace signs are popular with teens who love to swap bands.
N-Style ID has designed many of its medical ID tags to be interchangeable. This allows wearers to save money by ordering just one stainless steel ID tag and bands of varying styles and colors to snap onto it. There are jewelry collections created especially for men, women and children.
1. Lauren's Hope
And the winner is: Lauren's Hope!
Lauren’s Hope was founded in 1994 by Denise Gaskill and LeAnn Carlson. The company originally had a different name, but in 2001 they created the first Lauren’s Hope for a Cure medical ID bracelet for a customer with juvenile diabetes who did not want to wear a medical ID that made her look different from her friends. The bracelets became so popular that Denise and LeAnn changed the name of the company. Customers with other needs began requesting medical IDs, and today Lauren’s Hope makes a diverse collection of IDs.
Lauren's Hope offers beaded bracelets, fun dog tags for kids, interchangeable allergy jelly bands, and kid-friendly backpack tags and temporary tattoos for kids who just won't wear jewelry. Lauren's Hope also offers a line of handcrafted medical ID jewelry.