So, you've decided you need a medical ID bracelet or some other form identification. Maybe your doctor recommended it because you have an allergy. Maybe you recently discovered that you're diabetic. Perhaps a loved one is battling Alzheimer's and you need to ensure they're covered in the event they become lost or confused.
Regardless of the reason, wearing an identification bracelet offers peace of mind...and it can save your life.
With so many ID options out there, where do you start?
I'll preface this article by saying that we sell identification products, and we're darn proud of them. But, a Road ID may not be the best option for you. Below, I'll share the must-haves for any ID purchase, and help you find the product that suits your needs best.
Must-Have #1: Durability
Look for companies that offer a lifetime guarantee on their engraving. Wearing the bracelet means nothing if the engraved text can't be read in an emergency, so you don't want an ID that's going to fade or scratch every time it rubs across something.
ID companies that back their products are less likely to sell you a dud.
Kids are especially rough on, well, everything. If you're shopping for a wild child, ask about kid friendly options. An ID for a child should be rugged, functional, and easy to strap on.
Must-Have #2: Crisp, Legible Engraving
In the event that someone needs to read your ID, you don't want them straining to see what's on it. Look for simple, clean text fonts. The engraving should sharply contrast the background. For example: a bold, crisp mark is easy to spot on a stainless steel ID, like these:
Honest companies will show you actual photos of their products AFTER they've been engraved.
Must-Have #3: A Great Return Policy
Some companies won't allow you to return a customized product. This is a red flag. Skip over these guys and keep on looking.
The right company will not only allow you to return your purchase, they'll make it easy on you. This is a sign that they don't get many returns...because their customers are happy with their ID.
In addition to the Must-Haves, there are a few other criteria you need to consider before pulling the trigger on a new medical alert bracelet. Here they are:
Fashion vs Function
I'm not saying you can't have both, but consider this: the goal is to wear ID 24/7, because you never know when you might need it. So ask yourself these questions:
What do I do on the weekends? Am I swimming? Wrangling kids? Reading Nancy Drew in the hammock?
What are my hobbies? Bonzai trees? Big block Chevys? Hot Yoga Candy Crush?
What is my dress code at work? Is it khakis and pant suits, or muscle shirts and flip flops? Are you writing code or pouring concrete?
If you're like my wife, you'd rather show up to a day hike in sparkly sandals than look "dumpy" in a pair of hiking shoes. If this is your modus operandi, then check out Bling Jewelry's IDs.
If you're into the military and survival thing, there are many companies selling handmade paracord ID bracelets on Etsy. Just make sure they meet the Must-Have requirements above.
Nickel and Latex Allergies are Common
More than 10 percent of us have Nickel allergies, which can result in uncomfortable skin reactions. In fact, Fitbit recalled its Force product in 2014 for this reason.
Make sure the product you buy is made from surgical grade stainless steel. A 316 grade steel is commonly used in the military for its resistance to corrosion, and it also contains only a very small amount of nickel. This is a very safe choice if there's any concern.
Now, let's address the latex allergy: roughly 6 percent of us are sensitive to this when it comes in contact with our skin. If an ID bracelet is made from rubber, it contains some amount of latex. This can also cause outbreaks and skin irritation. If you want identification that is waterproof and dries quickly, look for a bracelet made from silicone.
Beware of the "Premium Engraving" Option
If a company is offering a "premium" or "upgraded" engraving option for a surcharge, move on. A "standard" engraving, when done right, will last for many years and doesn't incur any additional cost for the manufacturer.
Besides, if you're not paying for the "premium," engraving, what are you getting? You're likely getting a dull mark that will corrode or become hard to see over time. So, there's no need to pay an extra fee for a good quality mark on your medical alert bracelet.
A durable ID with a clear, crisp engraving should be a requirement. And, the seller should readily accept accept returns without making you jump through hoops.
Additionally, your activities, hobbies, and allergies should dictate the style of identification bracelet you buy. After all, you should never want to take it off.
Lastly, know that our mission is to see the day when wearing ID is as common as strapping on a seat belt. We want you to have ID on your person...even if it's not ours. Seriously. You can read it here.
If you have a canine best friend, check out 5 Great Pet ID Tags and What to Put on Them.