For us, being prepared means that Gene has two things with him at all times: his backpack and his bracelet. If we leave the house, he has these two things. Every. Single. Time. It’s one of those “Do not pass go. Do not collect $200,” kind of things.
If you’re familiar at all with Houston, you know just how HUGE the city is. We live in Northwest Houston and my husband works in East Houston on the ship channel. He makes the 55 mile drive (each way) to work and back and we love him for it. However, there once was a day where he made this 55 mile trip FOUR times. The poor guy drove to work, reached in the back to grab his laptop bag, and realized that the ever-so-necessary backpack was hiding in the back seat. Knowing how important it was, he drove all the way back home to drop it off and then drove all the way back to work. We both hated that he had to do it, but we knew it wasn’t negotiable.
Gene’s first backpack was a diaper bag that we received as a baby shower gift. We registered for it when I was pregnant and I never would have guessed how much true wear and tear it would get in its lifetime (as you can see from the photo).
It was the Jeep brand diaper bag and is perfect for your traditional baby supplies. We loved it even more because it could be thrown on our backs and we still had use of both hands and arms. My husband liked it too because it was “manlier” than your typical diaper bag.
As Gene got older, this backpack turned into something much more than just a diaper bag. Along with diapers and wipes, it carried his allerGene-friendly snacks, his inhaler, Benadryl, and of course, his EpiPens.
We recently retired Gene’s Jeep backpack and upgraded him to a Jansport Half Pint backpack that he can carry himself. I opted to go with the color red because it makes me instinctively think “medical”. It also stands out in a busy room, so it’s easy to spot and not forgotten. We keep a supply of snacks, his water bottle, chewable Benadryl, and of course, his EpiPens stocked inside. There is also a medium Stasher bag inside with his inhaler, chamber, and instructions. If we needed to, we could even squeeze in a change of clothes.
Both backpacks are CLEARLY labeled with EpiPens. When it comes to the location and labeling of the EpiPens, the more obvious the better! For his original Jeep backpack, we chose yellow vinyl because we thought it would stand out well against the black fabric. I’m not sure what the original purpose of that pocket was for, but it made the perfect EpiPen holder!
Gene’s current Jansport backpack has his name and EPIPENS embroidered on it. The vinyl held up on the Jeep backpack all three years that we used it, but I figured embroidery would hold up even better. I even added these medical tags to go on the zippers for added awareness!
I cannot tell you how many times I have had strangers stop me in public and ask me where we got Gene’s backpack. When I explain what we did, the response is always the same, ‘Oh! That’s genius! I need to tell my so-and-so about that for their kid!” My husband thinks we should go into business creating these backpacks, but I’m bigger picture than backpacks. So, Jeep or Jansport, if you ever read this, you’ve got a whole new marketing journey to embark on!
Can you spot the hiding backpack?
This one is all thanks to my sister, Somer, and RoadID. Somer is one of those lunatics who participates in triathlons and Ironmans. When she started training, she got a RoadID bracelet for herself in case there was ever an emergency. She suggested that I look into one for Gene, and boy, was I glad I did!
We purchased the Stretch for Kids bracelet and a medical alert symbol badge for Gene. I included his name, my phone number, the foods he’s allergic to, and instructions to use the EpiPen and call 911. For about $30, I bought peace of mind, and the best part is that it will last us for years (assuming we don’t lose it), because it comes with three different size bands.
Can you spot Gene's Bracelet?
As Gene gets older, I’m sure we’ll transition to something smaller than a backpack for his supplies, but who knows? For now, the backpack and the bracelet are working their magic on a daily basis and we are happy to take them with us on every errand and adventure.