Product Review: Safer Playdates, Safer Halloween for Kids with Allergies
Although parents of children with food allergies take every precaution, allowing a child to go on a playdate, to school, trick-or-treating, or to a birthday party can induce anxiety over what the child may ingest. AllerMates, a company founded by the mother of a child with food allergies, offers a line of products—wristbands, dog tags, dog tag necklaces, lunch bags, and stickers—that warn or remind other caregivers (such as teachers, friends’ parents, relatives, coaches) of a child’s allergies. Recently, a new wristband and character (“Puffer”) for children with asthma have been added to the line that includes items for kids with the most common allergies: peanuts, nuts, gluten/wheat, milk, eggs, shellfish, penicillin, insect sting, latex, pollen, fish, soy, sesame, and cat.
AllerMates products are available at Walgreens for back-to-school and Halloween, through Amazon.com and the AllerMates website, and from independent retailers throughout the U.S. The AllerMates products are designed to make people aware of a child’s allergies or medical condition, and be responsive to resultant needs. One would also hope that the products would remind the child that certain foods are off-limits when temptation strikes.
The snap-on, adjustable wristbands are perfect for a generation of kids who wear rubber bands shaped like animals and cartoon characters and vinyl bracelets embossed with catch phrases and encouraging words. Each wristband features a cartoon character representing the allergy or disorder along with the item to which the child is allergic. Appropriately enough, I recently received the asthma wristband featuring a cute cartoon inhaler.
According to the manufacturer, the products are “nickel and latex free and have passed rigorous safety standards and testing. The wristbands are adjustable and fit most children.” The company also hosts a website, AllerMates.com, with “easy to read and understand tips, facts and general information about allergies.” There are also games and activities centered on AllerMates characters and a social community allowing “interaction and sharing of the latest blogs news, videos and information within the allergy community.”
I particularly like the wristband because of its bright, attention-getting colors and characters and its kid-friendly design. I expect that mine will be a humorous fashion accessory until I must engage in activities that are wheeze-inducing. It’s good to know that if something dramatic does happen, my attention-getting wristband will let people know why I have stopped breathing and turned blue (not my best color).