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We have been convinced that we need medical identification for our 8-year-old son Zachary. Previously we thought that it was unnecessary because he was always with a family member or at school. We now realize how shortsighted we were. One of the worst experiences to happen to our family changed our minds.

During this past summer, we were enjoying a family vacation at a State Park in Michigan. Zachary walked on ahead of his father and was missing for two and a half hours. You can imagine the panic and horror we felt. This story, fortunately, had a happy ending. Zachary had been looking for us outside the park when a nice lady found him and called the police. We got him back safe and sound. It was a very long two and a half hours with park rangers, police and strangers all looking for Zachary.We came within five minutes of having our missing boy reported on national news. The police had already contacted Amber Alert, which helps find missing children. This process happened quickly because of Zachary's special medical circumstances and an attempted abduction the day before in this same county. I know I felt even worse when the police shared the abduction fact with me. After finding Zachary, the police and EMS staff both reminded us that it would be a good idea to have medical alert information on our son. This was not a proud parenting moment!

Currently Zachary is wearing a bracelet because we thought the necklace might get caught while he was playing on the playground. The bracelet for his wrist is quite small so we could only fit his name, maple syrup urine disease and my cell phone number on it. I suspect in time his needs will change.

Because of this experience, I have learned some interesting information by checking on the Internet and corresponding with the MSUD eGroup parents. There are many choices of medical ID's available, such as, bracelets, necklaces, sports bands, medallions and dog tag style necklaces. These can be engraved with basic information. I found several sites for medical ID's, two of which are:

Childs ID
Web site: www.childsid.com
Toll free number: 866-654-4340
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

American Medical Identifications
Web site: www.americanmedical-id.com
Toll free number: 800-363-5985

For someone who travels a lot or who lives independently, the MedicAlert Identification would be a good option. The MedicAlert Foundation is a nonprofit membership organization available worldwide which provides personal medical information 24 hours a day to authorized medical professionals. Their contact information is:

MedicAlert Foundation
Web site: www.medicalert.org
Toll free number in the U.S.: 888-633-4298
Phone number outside the U.S.: 209-668-3333
Fax: 209-669-2450
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I asked the MSUD eGroup what they were using for medical identification. From the responses, I learned that various kinds of medical alert jewelry are being used. Several of the teens and adults with MSUD carry information in their wallet or purse. Ruth Villela, who has two children with MSUD, made laminated medical alert cards for her children to carry in a purse or wallet on which this information was listed: name; address; several contact people and their phone numbers; social security number; date of birth; insurance card number; blood type; the name, symptoms and a short description and of the medical condition; doctor's name and phone number; and name of school. She got all this information on a small card using both sides.

We hope this gives you some information to think about.


AllegroMedical.com markets a MedScope medical ID key chain/pendant. It is a medical information viewer which contains 25 lines of medical data and contact information and attaches easily to a belt loop, jewelry, key chain or luggage. Call 800-861-3211 for more information.

Carrying a card or letter with medical emergency information is fine, but other identification, such as, jewelry, is needed to alert medics to look in a wallet or purse for more detailed information. There are a number of companies offering medical ID's. Just type in "medical identification" in a search engine to find a list of web sites.

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