Engraving Your Medical Alert Bracelet

What Do I Really Need To Engrave On My Medical Alert?

When engraving medical ID alert bracelets , it’s very important to remember that the person reading your medical alert bracelet or necklace will likely never have met you and will know nothing about you. If you’ve been in an accident or other emergency, you may not have your wallet or purse close at hand, so all of the essentials need to be accessible on your medical ID tag.

When it comes to engraving your medical alert bracelet, there are a lot of options, but we recommend:

  1. Your full name:

    If there’s room after your name, consider using the rest of the line. For example, “JOE SMITH – 4/11/85” or, “JANE SMITH – NKDA” (NKDA stands for No Known Drug Allergies, and it is a very common medical abbreviation that communicates extremely helpful information).
  2. Your chief medical condition(s) or concern(s):

    Many common medical conditions have abbreviations that EMTs and other first responders know well. If you’re not sure about yours, reach out to us, or check out our common abbreviations list. Also, if you find that your engraving is just a character or two over the limit, give us a call. Sometimes, we can make it fit, depending on the letters/characters involved. For example, “Adrenal Insufficiency” takes up 21 characters, one more than our standard 20, but it will fit on our typical medical ID tags.
  3. Your allergies or medications:

    Often, people will simply engrave the name of a medication, such as, “Hydrocodone,” or “Immitrex.” This does not tell rescue personnel whether you are taking these medications regularly or if you are allergic to them. So it’s important to make that distinction: “On Hydrocodone,” or “Algy Immitrex.” Otherwise, an EMT may assume you are allergic to a medication, when actually you are taking it, which could result in drug interactions or medications being withheld that should actually be administered.
  4. Your emergency contact information:

    Typically, engraving the word, “ICE” before a phone number is sufficient here. There is no reason to designate that the ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact is your mom or that her name is Janice, as she can explain that if she gets a call. Instead, save those extra characters for your medical information. If you have enough space, having an extra ICE contact is always a great idea. The only time we recommend including a name is when you list someone’s work phone number, so the EMTs will know who to ask for.

What is Standard Etched Engraving?

Sample of what standard etched engraving looks like on medical ID tag.
Example of Standard Etched Engraving

What we call standard, traditional, or rotary engraving is what most people think of when they consider engraving. With most of our ID tags, this results in a tone-on-tone appearance, achieved when our engraving machine essentially carves the letters into the metal (it’s the same technique used on many trophies or plaques that you might have seen.)

What is Premium Laser Engraving?

Sample of what premium laser engraving looks like on medical ID tag.
Example of Premium Laser Engraving

With laser engraving, there is no contact between an engraving tip and the tag. In this instance, a laser actually burns the text onto the tag itself. Laser engraving is a permanent process, and while it may look like it’s printed on, it’s actually burned into the metal and results in dark lettering that really stands out on your medical ID and can greatly increase the ease of reading, especially in low-light situations.

Running low on engraving space? These abbreviations may be helpful when engraving your medical alert:

Atrial FibrillationA-Fib
Allergy/Allergic ToALGY
Aortic Valve ReplacementAVR
Blood PressureBP
Chronic Kidney DiseaseCKD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DiseaseCOPD
Congenital Adrenal HyperplasiaCAH
Congestive Heart FailureCHF
Coronary Artery DiseaseCAD
Coronary Heart DiseaseCHD
Cystic FibrosisCF
Deep Vein ThrombosisDVT
Diabetic KetoacidosisDKA
Diabetes MellitusDM
Diagnosis or DiseaseDX/DIAG
Do Not ResuscitateDNR
Epinephrine Pen (auto-injector)EPIPEN
Erythromycin EthylsuccinateEES
In Case of EmergencyICE
Insulin-Dependent Diabetes MellitusIDDM
Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic PurpuraITP
Mitral Valve ProlapsedMVP
No Known AllergiesNKA
No Known Drug Allergies (used for people who have known non-drug allergies but no known allergies to medications)NKDA
Transplant or TreatmentTX (requires context)
Von Willebrand’s DiseaseVWD

Our standard medical alert tags have six lines for you to work with, and with a few abbreviations, most customers are easily able to fit their most pertinent medical information on their tags.

Do you have engraving questions?

Give us a call between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. central time, Monday through Friday, at 1.800.360.8680.