I’ve been going to amusement parks for most of my life. I love them! Love the rides–the crowds! When I had children, though, I started thinking a little differently about being in crowded places. I’ve seen several different ways of putting contact information on or with younger children. My oldest child is autistic and has significant speech delay. I needed to consider how to keep non-verbal children safe.

I’ve seen a ton of ideas: writing information on a child’s body; custom, temporary tattoos; a note in a pocket; special jewelry; or even pet tags! These options are either too expensive or too subtle.

For about $5.00 I was able to have my son’s name and our family cell numbers engraved on a metal tag to hang on his tennis shoe. However, our cell numbers changed, and the tag was inaccurate after six months. I felt like I was wasting money. Temporary tattoos are both expensive and hidden from plain view.  Park employees are going to touch your child as little as possible to minimize liability (and that’s OK with me). So that leaves out tattoos and notes in the pocket.

Keep your child safe with these small, durable, make-at-home tags. They’re cheap, visible and really work!

How to:

  • Cut card stock into 1″ by 1.5″ tags.
  • On one side, print your child’s first name, cell numbers for both parents, and mention any medical conditions or developmental issues (my son is autistic).
  • Punch a big hole in the tag.
  • Laminate the tag with the thickest laminating film you have.
  • Trim the laminate no closer than 1/8th of an inch to the paper and slice an X over the punched hole.
  • Unlace your child’s shoe, push the shoestring through the X, and re-lace the shoe with the tag hanging over the toe of the shoe.

Voila! You’ll have a tag that is big enough to catch the attention of someone looking to identify a lost child and which preserves both the child’s modesty and your wallet.

Tips: You want your homemade ID tag to be water-resistant. A good seal on the lamination will keep the paper safe from the effects of any splashes. Punching the hole ahead of time means that the laminate will seal around that portion as well. If you don’t have a laminator, local copy stores will laminate one sheet for a very reasonable fee. You can make ID tags for the whole family for less than the cost of one pet tag.

I like to lace the tag onto the shoe for a couple of reasons: 1.) Kids can’t take it off easily like they could a necklace, and 2.) It’s not something that a stranger can easily read.

Use your child’s favorite cartoon character or other graphic relating to your trip on the front of the tag. That may make kids more willing to wear it. On a recent trip to Disneyland Resort, the boys’ tags had pictures of their favorite attractions, and just for fun we made tags for Grandmother and Granddaddy to wear, too! The kids thought it was hilarious, and Grandmother and Granddaddy used their ID tags for luggage tags on the way home.

  This has been a guest post by Penny from Aurora, CO
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16 thoughts on “Shoe In: Make a Simple ID Tag to Keep Kids Safer”

  1. Mary says:

    I like to use printer Shrinky Dinks. Sorry – i’m not good at tutorials! There are good instructions online for a “rule of thumb” on hoe large to cut the hole and font size so when it shrinks, the writing is still visible :)

  2. p.mcvay says:

    Never put your child’s first name on a name tag in public, in fact, insist that your children’s schools never do so either while on a field trip.  It presents an opportunity for strangers to pretend that they know your child.  What little kid isn’t going to believe an adult who somehow magically knows their first name…”Yes of course this adult must be a friend of my Mom & Dad’s, they know my name!”

    • SlinnAnna says:

       I am originally from England and it is standard practice that Children’s first names are never displayed on their clothing during school trips. I think it is just common sense, however my child’s school in California treated me like a neurotic parent when i insisted that they did not do this. So nice to hear from others who are on the same page as me on this issue.

  3. Pattiw5 says:

    This is a great idea…One of my sons is autistic, too…we usually put the kids in the same color shirts and on his, I do a printable iron-on (available in the walmart craft section) that has a message letting people know that he has autism (mostly because he can never wait in lines and tends to walk up to people and get close to look at their eyes/expressions on their face, etc.)… people usually treat him with much more patience and sensitivey, and I get less dirty looks from people, too! 

    One year-we went to the zoo I made him a t-shirt that had a big caution sign, it said, “warning…I have autism, and I know how to use it!”, it was fun, and also funny to others, and after the trip, he chose to wear that shirt all the time (it must have been funny to him, too! (I finally had to get rid of it because it was looking so worn out!)

  4. nicole says:

    this is wonderful.  also if you dress everyone in the same color shirt it helps you remember if you are panic stricken.  you all will have on the same thing.  this tag is wonderful! thanks for the idea

  5. Anonymous says:

    Another laminating tip, you could use clear shipping tape if you have any. Just be sure to overlap any edges. 

    • Sdild says:

      I use the overlapping shipping tape idea on my luggage tags too to keep rain from ruining the writing. It works great!

  6. Couponinggirl says:

    This is a great idea if you don’t put the child’s name where it’s visible. Anyone can read the tag, call the child by name, and lure them to leave with a stranger. When we took field trips with my Pre-K class, we put the child’s name on the BACK of the daycare’s info card that was pinned to their shirt.

    • Anonymous says:

      You took the words righ out of my mouth.  Never put a child’s name where it can be seen.  Love this shoe id. My third child is autistic and would never let me put this on his shoe but I like the idea for my other kids.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great idea! God bless you and your family! I pray that your son gets better as time moves forward. I can’t imagine how his well being must affect you. I am also sure that he’s your biggest blessing as well .

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I have had the same concerns about taking my toddler to busy amusement parks this summer so I made return address labels that have his name, parent’s name, and cell phone #.  I am going to stick one to the back of his shirt each day.  He may want to wear it proudly on the front of his shirt because it even has a bulldozer picture on it.  You can buy cheap address labels at vistaprint.  

  9. Tr Crowley says:

    Great idea! I did the same exact thing when we went to 6 Flags. Our son was newly adopted in didn’t speak english.

  10. i tried to “pin” this page, but the Pint it button is not working. :(

  11. Dana says:

    Thank you so much for this idea. We are going to Disney World next year and I was trying to think of a way to put some sort of id on my son. He’s very sensitive to things on his skin and is very fidgety so I think this idea will work great!