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Keep kids' medical alert bracelets simple

Despite new decorative choices, doctors say you should

Despite new decorative choices, doctors say you should keep kids' medical bracelets simple. Credit: iStock

Q. Some medical ID bracelets for kids look so much like regular jewelry, especially the choices for girls. Is there a risk that emergency medical personnel might not realize such elaborate bracelets have critical information on them?

A. "The more you see them, the more you become aware that they come in different varieties," says emergency physician Lawrence Kessler, medical director of ER-DOX, an urgent care center with three locations on Long Island: Amityville, Massapequa Park and Hewlett.

That being said, there can be a fine line between style and function that parents might not want to cross when choosing a medical alert bracelet for a child, Kessler says. Remember that the bracelets are meant to alert emergency personnel -- especially pre-hospital responders, first to arrive on a scene -- to a problem the child has that he or she may not be able to verbalize at the time. Bracelets immediately indicate diabetes, autism, penicillin allergy, epilepsy and a host of other medical conditions.

"Especially in children who can't tell you what's wrong, they become invaluable in a time of distress," Kessler says, providing insight into what could be unfolding. "When you see something acutely wrong, you want the history of the child. The more fantastic you make the bracelet, the more you are disguising the purpose of it. The more camouflaged they become, looking like jewelry, the less identifiable they will be."

His feeling: "Keep it as simple as possible, and make it known for what it is."

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