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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Shoe In: Make a Simple ID Tag to Keep Kids Safer