Medical Alert Bracelet vs. Emergency Card: which is better?

Author: Dylan Wenzlau
January 27, 2022·2 min read

Both of these life-saving devices have their benefits and drawbacks. Let's take a deeper look!

What is a Medical Alert Bracelet?

Metal chain medical bracelet with red symbol
Wikimedia / RexxS / CC BY-SA 4.0

Worn similarly to a piece of jewelry, these bracelets or wristbands are usually metal or silicone and are worn on your wrist at all times. The bracelet will prominently display the star of life, a symbol that alerts medical professionals that the bracelet contains important health information. Alongside this symbol will appear a phrase or two about the wearer's medical conditions or allergies, usually critical conditions like diabetes or asthma. This tiny piece of information can ensure the correct treatment is applied as quickly as possible if the person is found unconscious or incapacitated.

What is an Emergency Card?

Emergency card printable blank template

An emergency card is similar to a medical bracelet, but it's credit card-sized with more space to display critical medical information, and it stays in your wallet instead of on your wrist. An emergency card will often contain the owner's most serious conditions, allergies, active medications, and emergency contacts. Modern emergency cards may also contain a QR code that can be scanned for information that cannot fit on a small paper card or that updates frequently such as active medications.

Which is better?

Medical Alert Bracelets are better for:

Emergency Cards are better for:

You don't have to choose one or the other though. If you have one critical medical condition, you are likely to benefit from having something immediately visible on your body like a bracelet or necklace. Keeping an emergency card in your wallet or purse will provide further detail that might also save your life, such as by avoiding medication allergies or deadly combinations of meds.

You can print your own emergency card for free by simply typing out your medical information, but there are several advantages to using a modern emergency card that updates automatically. All full Guava accounts come with a free Guava Emergency Card, which has some benefits beyond what basic medical bracelets and cards provide:

Emergency card front example with name, birth date, and QR code

To take advantage of the Guava Emergency Card, you can either join Guava yourself or give an Emergency Card as a gift.


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