Rebecca Nelson, whose son has severe food allergies, took significant precautions to make sure he didn’t eat any allergens at daycare. Daycare supervisors knew of his condition, and every day he wore an allergen alert bracelet. But, she says, the bracelet was not always visible, and she still worried that a caregiver might simply forget or not see him eating something he shouldn’t. “I just didn’t feel comfortable. I thought there’s got to be something else I can do” she explained to theAtlanta Journal-Constitution.

So Nelson, who formerly owned a baby gift store in the mall, began making allergen warning T-shirts. Designed for preschoolers, the colorful shirts warn that the wearer can’t eat a certain food. She began by giving the shirts out to other moms raising kids with food allergies, before launching her company, Alert Clothing Co., in 2008.

According to Nelson, her shirts are designed for “these really young kids who can’t advocate for themselves.” Dr. Neeta Ogden, a pediatric allergist, commented on the idea, saying “There is a need for these kinds of products. We need these kinds of red flags.” Dr. Todd Rambasek, a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, agreed that “If a child does have recurrent accidental exposures, then a product like this might help.”

One of her customers, Amy Pott, says the shirts are a polite way to get a serious message across. She bought the shirts for her daughter, who is allergic to dairy and eggs. She says ” I wanted something that would tell people not to offer her a cookie, for example, without it being too serious or clinical-looking… Alert’s styles are so colorful and cute, while getting the point across effectively.”

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