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If you carry EpiPens, please read this

Posted on February 27th, 2012 by Alison Read 10 Comments - Add Your Own »

A friend of mine, who is also a mom of a child with food allergies, talked to me recently about how  she has not been diligent about taking the EpiPen with them wherever they go, and about how her husband hasn’t taken responsibility for bringing the emergency medication when he takes the child somewhere. They know they should, but they forget, or they haven’t totally accepted the fact that the EpiPen might be the thing that saves their child’s life someday. I get it — I was in the same boat a while ago.

We had EpiPens, we had Benadryl, but it was hanging around our house in different places. Sometimes it would go in my purse, or be stashed in a compartment in my car, or thrown into whatever bag we were carrying that day. My husband didn’t know where it was, and how scary to think what would have happened if I wasn’t around in an emergency to find it.

After a few close calls of our own, and a few heart-wrenching news stories of kids who died because the medicine was not accessible, I realized that I may not be able to control everything she eats (though I try!), but I can make sure that treatment is available should an accident happen.

When a seven-year old with food allergies died, it hit me hard, and I had a heart-to-heart with my seven-year old daughter, sharing the little girl’s tragic story with her, and talking to her about taking responsibility for her own safety. I told her how sad I would be to lose her and that she needed to keep herself safe by 1) not eating anything that could possibly be unsafe and 2) carrying her medication with her at all times. Since then, she has been much more careful with food and diligent about making sure her emergency kit is with her at all times.

And that brings me to the point of this article. You can’t expect the child (or other family members) to be responsible about the emergency medication without providing some organization first. You need to have consistency.

First, get a carrier of some kind. When I set out to write this article, I meant to highlight the carriers I use but it turns out that they are no longer available. The ones I use were made by AllergyKids. They are flourescent green with a big AllergyKids logo on it, they zip and they are roomy enough for a couple of epi-pens and other medication like Benadryl. I like that they are brightly colored so anyone who knows us knows that the bright green bag has the emergency medication in it. I also wrote my daughter’s name is black Sharpie pen in large letters on the bag. There is no mistaking this bag for anything else. You can spot it from far away and find it easily within my daughter’s backpack or anywhere else we might put it. If you can’t find a brightly colored bag like I did, at least buy a few bags with the same pattern so that everyone knows which bags are the Epi bags.

Then, make sure you have a consistent place to keep it in your house, ideally near the front door so that it is easy to remember and easy to grab. We keep one of the bags in my daughter’s backpack and we have another one in the house in my daughter’s “inbox.” We know to look there for the pack when we are going somewhere. She knows to look there also, and even her little sister is always on the lookout for the emergency pack.

You need to find a system that works for you, but have a system!

I found many companies that sell Epi-Pen bags of all styles and colors. Here are some of them:

Allergy Apparel

OneSpot Allergy

BlueBear Aware

Moxie Pouches


Let me know if you have a system that works for your allergic child!

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. I love the epipen carriers and medi-bags on the Etsy link! It’s not just kids that need these! With 10 food allergies (and 1 new mystery allergy) I carry my epipen with me everywhere. Instead of benedryl I carry histaminum hydrochloricum 30C. It’s a holistic antihistamine that works much faster than benedryl. I use it for myself and one of my dogs that has 18 known allergies & sensitivities. Every day is a crap shoot in my house. 🙂 The medi-bag will be particularly good for all my work related travel.

    PS – in case anybody ever wondered… it doesn’t kill the dog when they fish your epipen out of your purse and eat it. It kills the wallet but the dog is just fine. :-/

  2. I agree, it’s not just for kids! I have 4+ severe food allergies plus MANY environmental. I carry an epipen plus benedryl for these. I also suffer from chronic migraines and have multiple meds for these.

    I use a Vera Bradley small cosmetic bag to keep an epipen and medicine container with a variety of meds. This bag goes everywhere with me.. as I switch purses, daughter’s diaper bag, plane carry on. Friends at work and family know that the pink bag has my “emergency meds” it should I need it. I just got a pattern that was easily noticeable yet, stylish 🙂

    Here’s a link: http://www.verabradley.com/product/Category/Travel/Small-Cosmetic/154770/defaultColor/Rosy+Posies/pc/638/c/0/sc/646/p/154770.uts

  3. Very nice! That’s a great idea for my bag during the work week and my other bag for the weekends when I do my dog training! I like the medi-bags w/ the clear plastic for airline travel. If you’re not careful the TSA gets very touchy feely with your stuff.

  4. I got the local alterations store to add an inside pocket to my children’s hoodie. Since most kids today wear a hoodie, and as they are usually loose fitting and large, an inside pocket is easily camouflaged and is unobtrusive. The lady at the alteration store even suggested alternative locations that we didn’t think of (such as along the seam under the arms lower down above the hip). In the end, our kids opted for the pocket beside the front zipper above the pockets. It’s easy to check, access and I guess on their hoddies, it’s not too conspicuous.

  5. Fred Ma,
    That’s brilliant. Do you worry though that others wouldn’t be able to find it in an emergency??

  6. hi Alison —
    came across your post here and wanted to share… have an alt way to carry epipens (among other things) that allows you to strap it onto the body. makes it easy to always have the things you need at the ready. see what I mean at http://www.portapocket.com (http://portapocket.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=epipen&x=0&y=0) — best wishes to you and be safe
    — Kendra

  7. The WaistPal is the most popular epipen carrier among kids and teens because they can conceal the waist band under their clothing and it has no plastic buckles. soft too! and only one and a half inches wide. you can see it at http://www.waistpal.com

  8. I am late to the discussion, but my son loves his children’s Spy Belt. It holds two epipens and travel-size Benadryl close to his waist without adding much weight or bulk.

  9. Dont aask dont tell approach to ensuring your kind carries epipens on them. Laws, legislations….are not my area of expertise, but I do know that my kid food allergies are severe. Therefore, I got him a waistpal which is an epipen he can wear under his clothing..told him to not take it off nor talk about it. What do I recommed? Focus first on ensuring your kid has the epis on him at all times. got the concealed waistpal epi belt that a mom created for her kid many yeqrs ago. As of today, he has been discreetly carrying (and hidding) his epipens by carrying them inside the waistpal because it was designed by a mom who clearly knew how to keep her child safe. For us, concealed epioen carriers such as the waistpal and legbuddy have already helped save his life.

  10. This article is from almost 4 years ago but as an allergist and a father of child with severe food allergy, it’s the exact reason that I created a new carrying case for the EpiPens called MyEpiID. This case or sleeve for the EpiPens is unique in that I tried to address so many of the barriers to proper and timely EpiPen use. It has a magnetic back so that the EpiPens can be stored right in your kitchen on your fridge. The back of the sleeve has visual and written instructions on proper EpiPen use. The front has a clear window where an insert card containing personal information (name, allergies, emergency contacts and a photo) in addition to a fold out anaphylaxis action plan and EpiPen expiration information. The sleeve almost forces you to carry two EpiPen at a time (as recommended) and a belt or strap can be inserted between the sleeve and the EpiPens as a carrying solution. I think this is something that you really may like. Check it out at MyEpiID.com

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