Cartoon characters make allergy awareness fun

Any parent knows that kids have a personal sense of style. That’s what Iris Shamus was counting on when she started AllerMates, a line of rubber bracelets, dog tags and expanding merchandise designed as medical alert jewelry for children with food allergies.

“I looked for stuff that was trendy, that people were actually wearing,” says Shamus about the brightly colored pieces. Each allergy has a cartoon character that alerts caretakers to potential problems and gets kids excited about wearing the items. “They feel a little bit like they’re proud now of their allergy.”

Prices, at, range from $7.99 for wrist bands to about $11 for dog tags and necklace cords.

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