This Entrepreneurial Mom Created Temporary Tattoos To Empower Parents And Kids To Feel Safer

"While we cannot protect our kids from every mishap, what we can do is prepare them."

Anyone with small children knows the nightmare of having to keep them in tow in busy places such as airports, the beach, theme parks, even grocery stores. Sometimes, all it takes is a second before they've wandered off, out of sight. No matter what, this can be a heart-stopping moment, but one entrepreneurial parent named Michele Welsh is helping to take a bit of the stress off parents with a product she put on the market in 2009. 



It's called SafetyTat —  temporary child ID tattoos parents can apply to their child's skin with identifying information, such as a phone number.  

The tattoos, which come in a number of designs — some with a border that say "If lost, please call," and others indicating a medical condition, allergy, or a special need, such as "I have autism" — have blank spaces for a parent to use the SafetyTat tattoo marking pen or Sharpie marker to write a phone number. The tattoos can also be custom-made with information such as your number in a fun font. The products are safe for a child's skin —waterproof/sweatproof, non-toxic, latex-free, and hypoallergenic — with water-applied Original style SafetyTat tattoo lasting up to three days, and Quick Stick Write-On! SafetyTat child ID tattoos lasting up to two weeks, or until a parent is ready to remove it. 

To find out more, we spoke with the creator of SafetyTat about her inspiration for this product, and how it’s empowering parents and their children to feel safer.

Michele Welsh with her three children. Courtesy of Michele Welsh.
Michele Welsh with her three children. Courtesy of Michele Welsh.

Welsh told A Plus the idea for SafetyTat came after one Labor Day Weekend when she and her husband took their three small children to an amusement park. As a quick safety measure, she wrote her mobile phone number on each of their arms with a ballpoint pen, while also explaining other safety precautions, such "as always staying close to Mommy and Daddy," and to show people the number if they got separated. 

Throughout the day, other parents saw the written number, commenting on what a great idea it was. But Welsh noticed the pen kept smearing off her kids' arms. Thus, SafetyTat was born out of necessity, as the product will not wash or smudge away, and helps parents stave off feelings of worry when taking their kids to busy areas or events. 

Once  SafetyTat was created, Welsh said it was challenging to secure intellectual property patents, trademarks, copyright, navigate international sales and distribution, and to convince retailers to take a chance on them. 

"The joys come through success stories," Welsh said. "Listening to accounts from people all over the world successfully being reunited with their children as a result of using our product." 

Courtesy of Michele Welsh.
Courtesy of Michele Welsh.

Though she says it's hard to choose a favorite of these success stories, she points to one parent's, who lost her child in an airport. 

"Topping my list would probably be the one that I know was incredibly scary at the time, but now makes me laugh: the story of a pint-sized fugitive. Picture this: a mom in an airport restroom with her toddler. While mom was indisposed, he decided to make a break for it, crawling under the bathroom stall door and running out into the airport. Before mom could assemble herself, junior was down the corridor, sprinting like an executive trying to make it to a final boarding call. Intercepted just in time by a watchful TSA agent, the mom's cellphone rang with the reassuring agent's words, 'Ma'am, we have your son here.' "

Such success stories prove SafetyTat's effectiveness, and while Welsh says she was expecting parents to experience some peace of mind thanks to the product, and for kids to like the fun, colorful designs, she wasn't expecting kids to actually feel empowered wearing the tattoos, too. 

"… Through our journey, we learned something very important: when wearing SafetyTat, many children do not panic when separated from parents."

"They feel empowered. They are calm, know exactly what to do, and understand that the simple tattoo on their arm is a way to get back to mom and dad — fast.”

Courtesy of Michele Welsh
Courtesy of Michele Welsh

Of course, using SafetyTat is but one measure parents should take to ensure their child's safety. 

"First, explain to children what to do if separated," Welsh says. "The more equipped children are with simple steps, the less likely they are to panic. Teach your young children your first and last name. We hear from security and police how many times they have searched a crowded venue with a lost child looking for someone named 'Mommy' (or 'Honey'). Many parents struggle between giving their children freedom and providing them protection. Freedom offers children time to explore, learn, run (and fall), succeed (and fail). Freedom offers opportunities to learn, albeit sometimes 'the hard way.' " 

"While we cannot protect our kids from every mishap, what we can do is prepare them." 

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