Several companies now offer temporary tattoos that children can wear on their arms to alert teachers, cafeteria staff, and other adults that the kids suffer from severe allergies. Parents report that these tattoos give them a little peace of mind, but critics worry that they set kids up to be bullied. More from Yahoo! Shine:
"Right now there's a huge awareness, whether because of going back to school or because of the recent incident in California," SafetyTat founder and mother of three Michele Welsh told Yahoo! Shine. Welsh was referring to the recent tragic death of a 13-year-old girl with a peanut allergy at a Sacramento summer camp. "Unfortunately it sometimes takes something like that for people to say, 'Wow, it really can happen.'"
Welsh created her 5-year-old company—offering products that include temporary tattoos and long-lasting, write-on skin stickers—after using a ballpoint pen to nervously scrawl her cell phone number on her kids' arms at a crowded amusement park, in case they got separated, and realizing it was maybe not the best way to go about it.
The moment made her think of other dangers lurking for kids, and how having an actual warning label on the body could be useful to other parents, too—like her sister-in-law, who is mom to a boy with a fatal peanut allergy. "He had spent so much time in the hospital as a toddler, that his mom had begun limiting his time outside the home because she was so fearful," Welsh said. When she created the tattoos and he wore one to a school trip, the response was immediate, alerting a food server who double checked the ingredient of his salad dressing only to discover it contained peanut oil. "His mom told me, 'It's almost like I'm there with him, reminding people,'" she added.
But Yahoo! Shine reports that the tattoos do have critics:
A recent Slate article on the phenomenon of children wearing warning labels raised the issue of bullying, questioning whether the added attention would make them targets of childhood cruelty. It was a concern echoed by American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology spokesperson, allergist Kevin McGrath. "A lot of kids do get bullied at school about their food allergies, so there is some concern about whether this might give more ammunition to kids," McGrath told Yahoo! Shine.
Image: SafetyTat tattoo, via Yahoo! Shine